Although I had reared a few puggles before this one, when Cactus was still unspined I was surprised to smell her very strong aroma...which smelt really fresh, much like tee tree oil or eucalypt leaves. She exuded this smell as she wriggled around impatiently waiting for her milk. She slurped a few ml then had to have a rest, so I would stimulate her and she proceeded to pass urine, then I would offer her more milk in the palm of my hand and she would slurp a little more. She never slurped enough, so I would have to tube feed her the rest.
She came in at 165gm and was initially fed 33ml which is 20% of her bodyweight every 2 days. On her sixth day she weighed 246gm after her feed, but she used between 12 and 16 grams of her bodyweight in energy per each 48 hours!
I knew when she was hungry as she’d turn on her side or back and would be active, whereas when satisfied she just slept. Her housing was a deep plastic container filled with dirt and dead leaves, and a large PVC sewer pipe with a diameter of about 16cms (6 1/2 “) down into the soil on the diagonal. The soil around the pipe and inside the pipe was kept damp for 2 reasons, to keep the environment cool and to ensure she did not dry out. I had a thermometer probe in the soil and it fluctuated between 25 degrees and 27 degrees Celsius.
Cactus made a little clicking sound when poking her snout into my hand.

The echidna is almost as old as the crocodile (180 million years) as it has been found to have been on the earth for 120 million years. It is therefore the oldest surviving mammal and is one of only 2 monotremes, (egg laying mammals) the other being the platypus

Information from Dr. Peggy Rismiller, Echidna Researcher—
Echidnas can live to 50 years old and becomes sexually mature at approx 7 years of age. A mature female produces a single offspring every 3 to 6 years. Its body temperature is around 31 to 33 degrees Celsius and it can go into torper during winter in the colder climates

To emulate the natural way in which puggles feed, we should design something to allow it to feed upside down, as that is the way in which they feed from Mum. I plan to do this in time.

Copyright © 2003 Lynda Staker - Taken from Lynda Staker's book "Don't Step Backwards"

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