Our remarkable echidna puggle Beau is doing very well under the watchful eyes of nurses in our wildlife hospital.
In the wild, female echidnas return to their burrow every few days to feed their offspring, so Beau gets fed milk every three days, which has helped him to triple in size during his time at Taronga. Nurse Annabelle, who is in charge of looking after Beau, estimates that the little echidna slurps up about 20% of his body weight in milk during every feed. Beau currently weighs around 300g, which is a big milestone for this once-tiny echidna.
When Beau was brought in to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, he was a very tiny creature, and had to be kept at a certain temperature in order to simulate the conditions of a burrow.
Beau is settling in well to the Zoo, and our keepers are happy to see him responding to a broader temperature range. Our nurses are also pleased to see that Beau opened his eyes when he was just a few weeks old, which means that his development is well on track.
Our nurses are exposing him to dirt, so that Beau can dig and bury himself to his heart’s content! Beau enjoys crawling around in the fresh dirt and exploring new textures, however nurse Annabelle says that the puggle prefers to burrow in towels, which keep him safe and warm throughout the day.
Beau is developing a prickly coating of spikes, which are rising a few millimetres above his skin, and will soon develop into long, strong spikes. This “five o’clock shadow” is a sure sign that Beau is growing up.