Baby echidna 'puggle' born at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo

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A baby echidna 'puggle' has been born at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.

Animal care staff have been monitoring it closely to ensure it is developing normally and weigh it frequently to make certain it is nursing from its mother.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the hatching of a short-beaked echidna (pronounced ih·KID·nuh). The hatching of this baby echidna, which is called a puggle, is a first in the zoo's history. Echidnas are very unique. They are one of only two mammal species (the duck-billed platypus is the other) that are in the order Monotremata, or mammals that lay eggs.

The unnamed and unsexed puggle hatched sometime between March 2 and 5, 2022, and will remain in a nestbox for a few more months receiving nourishment from Waddles, its 47-year-old mother.

Waddles, like all echidna mothers, leaves her puggle in the nestbox, which simulates a burrow, and only returns to nurse it every few days. She then uses the substrate provided to her in the nestbox to secure the puggle until she returns to nurse it.

Once the puggle ventures out of the nestbox, which is anticipated to be sometime in August, guests will be able to see it in the zoo's Australia House.

In the meantime, the zoo's other echidnas, including Waddles; the puggle's sire, 48-year-old Pokey; 14-year-old Kapi; 31-year-old Rex; and the oldest animal at Brookfield Zoo, 53-year-old Adelaide, can be seen in their habitats.

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