15 January 2009
One of Taronga Western Plains Zoo Veterinary Nurse's has taken on the role of mother, hand raising a tiny Echidna puggle after her and her mother were brought into the Zoo's Wildlife Clinic.
The mother had been hit by a car and unfortunately her injuries we too extensive and she did not survive. As a result the six week old puggle was orphaned leaving Vet Nurse Jodie Milton with no other alternative but to hand raise the tiny infant.
The Echidna puggle named Brigalow, after the native plant, had a rocky couple of weeks after being orphaned but is now growing and developing well.
"Brigalow is now approximately 10 - 12 weeks old and is doing really well. She is eating a milk mixture once a day and soon will go to a feed once every second day," said Vet Nurse, Jodie Milton.
"She is a little shy which is very common with this species and spends most of the day sleeping," said Jodie.
"At the moment she looks a little bare compared to an adult however, her quills and hair are just starting to come through now so it won't be long before she is looking more like an adult Echidna," said Jodie.
"It is likely that Brigalow will require our care for approximately 12 months at which time veterinary staff will assess her for release back into the wild or whether she will stay at the zoo permanently," said Jodie.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo's Wildlife Clinic receives over 300 cases of injured wildlife every year. These animals are brought to the Clinic by members of the community after being found sick, injured or orphaned. All animals receive professional care and attention during the treatment and rehabilitation process to ensure they can be returned to their natural environment.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo's tips for motorists when on the road this holiday season: when driving be careful at dawn and dusk when many animals are active, check pouches of dead animals for joeys which sometime remain uninjured, don't throw food from cars as this attracts animals onto the road and remove dead animals from the road as they attract meat eating animals which may be hit by a car.
Echidna: together with the Platypus, Echidnas are the world's only egg-laying mammals. The Echidnas snout is between 7 and 8cm long and is stiffened to enable the animal to break up logs and termite mounds when searching for food. Adult Echidnas vary in size from 35 - 53cm, with males weighing 6kg and females 4.5kg. Echidnas are mainly solitary animals and curl into a ball with its snout and legs tucked beneath it and it spines sticking out when frightened.
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