In this episode we talk about the Echidna! Relax, unwind, and join me in the Australian grasslands, where we learn all about a strikingly strange anteater.
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everyone will come back to relax with animal facts I am staff Wolff and today I'm going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case it is definitely going to be one that's a bit different it's going to be a spiky friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful the kidnapper this of course is a very very special listener episode dedicated to Alicia Terry Chloe G. O. D. Kirsty aunt to eva thank you all for taking the time to write into the show and for the wonderful suggestion for how you can request your very own animal episode and for all of the facts used in this one you can either wait till the end or you can go into the description or the show notes where all of that information is there if you would like exclusive episodes and also to support the show you can do so by going to pay trillions dot com slash relax with animal facts or you can just click the link that is also in the show notes and now we are going to begin to slow down a little bit as always I have only three exhortations to you before we start our adventure the first is that you put on your favorite pair of boots if you don't have any of your own don't worry we supply them here the second is to notice perhaps where you are carrying some tension it can be challenging to relax when we're stiff as a board and so what I encourage you to do is to notice where that attention is it might be in the hands or in the head in the shoulders and do your best to impersonate Jello and when I mean impersonates that Jello I mean go for an Oscar award winning performance simply we do not need any of that tension where we are going today and to my third and last exhortation to you is to allow your mind to wander into journey with me into the grasslands of mainland Australia where the kids now resides this is not our first rodeo in this part of the world because Australia happens to harbor some of the most unique creatures on the planet and so notice the scenery of what most Australians would probably call the bush we have this beautiful natural mosaic of the greens and the Tony yellows and Browns we can hear the brittleness of the sticks and twigs beneath our feet and I'm not sure you have noticed this before but in each place we go there is always some kind of orchestra playing whether that be the birds or the locusts the swaying trees or the rustling leaves no where on planet earth are we exempt from a wonderful concert being played continually whether it is nighttime or daytime there is always something for that year's so now as we are walking here in the grasslands what we're looking for is a very special creature the common name is the echidna but their scientific name is tacky Colossus accu leaders as always we can decipher a little bit about the creature from their scientific name the word tactical losses can be broken down into two root words Colossus and tacky which when combined together means something like fast tongue that second word accu elitists means something that is prickly or barbs or having kind of an edge you'll notice that at the beginning of the toward accu latest is the word accu that word is used in acupuncture because accu means needle and so here we have some sort of fast tongued prickly or barbed creature and boy is that an apt distinction now the reason we are walking around in Australia today is not just because Ozzy's are cool but because a kittens can only be found in Australia and New Guinea the a kidney apart from their scientific name is also known as the spiny anteater and for good reason they are mammals which remember have certain characteristics mammals are creatures that are warm blooded have for nurse their young with milk and typically give birth to live young but the echidna is a rare exception while they are considered mammals they actually late X. this creature is one of the reasons why if you Google definitions of mammal that when it comes to giving birth to live young it will usually have an often or typically they do this because it's not one hundred percent of the time they're also placed into categories based on if they are long or short beaked even though the kid not does not actually have a peek at whole at least not in the traditional sense that we understand beaks that B. is referring to a fleshy knows that they have that can be either longer or shorter and in addition to all of this quirkiness they are absolutely covered with marvelous hollow quills no the reason why a creature like a porcupine for example has such an effective defense is because they have quills that or indeed bar these barbed quills makes it very difficult to remove them from the skin and impossible %HESITATION to remove them without some kind of pain the kid now on the other hand has marvelous quills a kittens are considered monotremes and this specific group only has one other creature in it and that is the audacious platypus monotremes just describe a delaying mammals so the echidna and the platypus break the researchers out in a sweat that to try to place them into clean categories so the echidna and platypus worked together in order to break every researcher into a sweat as the fumble around trying to classify them in many of the senses which we know and even making changes to the definition of a mammal as to include some very small exceptions to make room for these two unique creatures the kid now can grow from between fourteen to thirty inches which is about thirty five and a half to seventy six centimeters long and they can weigh from between five and a half to twenty two pounds around two and a half to ten kilograms and each of their prickly spines can grow up to two inches or about five centimeters long and so we can often get a good look at the a kidnap but not for long periods of time this is because while they're very active during the day and during the night these habitats can be very very warm some would even say smoldering heart and soul while often they will come out on to the ground and search for prey they will often shelter themselves from the extreme heat in caves or in burrows into Kipnis share something with the platypus in that while they are warm blooded they do have unusually low body temperatures that will vary from between eighty four to ninety degrees Fahrenheit which is twenty nine to thirty two degrees Celsius now the average body temperature of a person is about ninety eight point six Fahrenheit or thirty seven degrees Celsius and so we can see how large of a gap this is their body works best at this heat and they cannot tolerate really high temperatures and so will seek refuge in the shade now there are four different a kidney a species that can be distinguished by their spines by the number of clause that they have on their feet and by the length and shape of their peaks remember that when we say peak we are referring to that little fleshy nose no one really cool fact is that imbedded into the skin of the peak of the echidna or electro receptors now on this show there is really only one other creature I can think of that we have covered with electrophoresis tears and that was a kind of shark but the echidna has up and decided that it wants electro receptors to researchers postulate that the echidna may sends electrical signals that are produced by the muscles of invertebrate prey we may forget to we may not know how much of our body relies on this kind of electrical impulse our hearts for example beat as the beat because of electrical impulses our body is something like an unassailable the complex computer filled with connections and impulses and the electoral receptors on the skin of the peak of the echidna gives it a huge advantage in crazy detection now one thing that the echidna has batted shares also with the platypus or spurs on their hind legs spurs are these appendages that are very sharp the platypus and the kid now however use their spurs for different reasons male platypuses if we remember from the platypus episode will use their spurs as weapons to deliver venom they will use it to when they are competing against other males of the same species during breeding season the male a kid knows will not use their spurs for any sort of war instead of acting as a venomous device there spurs produce a substance that's likely serves as a form of send to communication so while the echidna talks it out V. platypus decides to go for violence and the fact that the a kidnap is not to use their spur in this way is reflected also in their behavior while they are very solitary animals they are not at all territorial they seem very willing to share their home range with others of their kind and will not try to drive others out but as I mentioned they are solitary and they will hibernate specifically during the cold winter months in the boroughs that they will not share say with other males so while they are not territorial there certainly still solitary kidneys do not have teeth and will survive on a strict diet of termites ants and other little invertebrates that they can find in the soil beetle larvae seems to be for them something like a chocolate cake when they wanted to treat themselves they will eat beetle larvae the strong clause that they have on their lives will allow them to break open logs and get to those Yummy termites inside their tongues are very long seeing as they are considered to be a spiky ant eater and they will use those long tongues to scoop up the large bunches of termites they can be lodged up to seven inches or %HESITATION eighteen centimeters below where they are their tongues are quite long and so their tongue plays a very key role in their diet and the roof bility to hunt the echidna actually has no teeth and so they will use their tongue and the bottom of their mouth as a kind of mortar and pestle to grind up their food before they swallow it if you could know was to somehow chase a rogue termite it would definitely be able to keep up they can reach top speeds of fifteen miles per hour which when you look at the creature you would not necessarily think that they could go that fast but indeed they can but while they can run a little bit faster than what they look like they can run their main defensive option is to hide when there are larger animals or if they face any other kind of danger they will hide in piles of leaves or grasses or make their way into some underground burrow well they certainly would not be the easiest animal to eat for other larger predators they certainly do not take the chance but in addition to their ability of being able to run quickly they're also great swimmers they will occupy the waters mostly to groom themselves and debate but none the less they do the doggy paddle just fine Ms their quills which if we remember or not barbed are actually pretty sharp these quills are quite hard because they are made of keratin which is the same material that makes up hair claws and fur and these keratin proteins will harden into those familiar spikes that we know and love and they will serve as protection from harsh conditions and from predators in the area and their ability to dig is also supplemented by their large claw because and their broad feet they have something like flippers for dirt their front feet will have five clause that can be used to dig through the dirt and leaves around them while their hind feet face backwards and kicked the soil away from the borough as the dig said they have two hind legs for cleanup or for disposal and two legs for active digging this makes them an efficient and productive little critter now as we learned before when the baby echidnas are born they are born in X. and the female a kid nine usually will lay a single egg at a time and after one of these ex has been laid to the mother will transfer the egg to a pouch that she has on her stomach after a very short process of only about ten to eleven days the baby a kid now which is called a puggle which I think is great will come out of the egg into the Wonderful World after the baby a kid now or the puggle is bored it will either go with the mother in the pouch or remain in the borough while the mother searches for food the baby a kid now will not have their quills fully formed instead your skin will be very soft and smooth and their clothes instead of having that quality of very sharp and Ralph will be small and fragile but after several months they will take the appearance of the a kid now that most of us know so the boroughs that the female a kidneys build become effectively nurseries the mother will continue to return and to return with food until it is time for the baby puggle to live on their own in terms of lifespan I found some conflicting information some article said that the kid now can live up to sixteen years in the wild and other article said that in captivity a kid miss can live up to fifty years or possibly about forty five years in the wild it is possibly because there simply is more research to be done and so there is some conflicting information but regardless whether it is sixteen years or fifty years there are both substantial lifespans given their relative size and their habitat before we move on to the charity let us just say where the name a kid now comes from or what does it mean so as early as the eighteen tens is when we started defining the kitten a as an Australian egg laying hedge hog like mammal there is a direct the Greek word which is a kidnapper which means snake or viper then we must ask ourselves why exactly was this word ascribed to the echidna it certainly does not look like a snake or a viper some say that it is perhaps a reference to how they eat in the sense of their tongue being very long and slow the rate of like a snake the word could also come from the Latin root canons or the Greek word Aquino's which means sea urchin that makes more sense to some who say that of course see your chins are quite spiky and the echidna is just as spiky and one cool fact is that the early naturalists when they looked on the echidna doubted whether it was a mammal or an incipient that is super cool and moving on to the charity the charity of this episode is the Sydney wildlife rescue I know I will probably get emails for how I am saying Sydney but I am not sure how the policies say it I am aware of Melbourne but that's about it but the Sydney wildlife read secu is dedicated to protecting the native wildlife there and they even gave some advice for what to do if you were ever to come upon in the kidney that is out of its way so I am going to read some of the rescue advice in case you ever come across one if you find an injured kid now you can pick it up in a pocket or in some sort of a closed the box and take them to a vet or you can even contact the local wildlife group as we learned before they have a fairly low body temperature that doesn't tolerate heat very well so placing the rescued a kidnap in some sort of box wrapped in some kind of artificial heat is not good they say cool is the rule as regards the kid knows the Sydney wildlife rescue also says never remove in the kid enough from its territory unless it is in imminent danger because you may be taking a mother away from her borough where the young is dependent upon her it is possible that she will not be able to find her way back using scent trails and so displacing a mother is not a great thing to do but you can go to the Sydney wildlife rescue and make a donation if you so choose I am placing all of that information in the description and now let us move on to the review portion of the show where can this is writing all the way from the United States of America and Candice writes I am so glad I found this podcast it has helped me so much the narrator's voice is so soothing and comforting their content is stimulating enough to keep my mind occupied but it's delivered like a lullaby I love listening to this podcast to help me relax and slip into sleep I have really bad insomnia due to chronic pain and wake up repeatedly through the night the podcast does wonders in helping me relax and get back to sleep when this happens plus I've been learning so much about the animal kingdom which has always been one of my special interests I'd love to hear more about specific frog species rain frogs if possible because frogs are my favorite animal happy face thank you Candice for taking the time to leave a review and to leave a review with such an abundance of kind words I am so happy that the podcast can be of any help to you at all and I'm also glad that you found the podcast in the first place I'm grateful that you enjoy the show as you do and I think you also for a great suggestion of the rain frog if the show has helped you in any way and you would like to give back to the show leaving a review is one of the fastest and most generous ways to help the show grow by leaving a review you help the show gets better you can tell me what you like or don't like about it and ultimately you help more people flying into the show and so growing our animal podcast family if you would like to have your very own episode you can request an animal like going to blacks with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animal request tab if you wish to contact me in any other way you can either send a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram or you can send an email to relax with animal facts at the G. email dot com for exclusive episodes and to support the show you can go to patrie on dot com slash relax with animal facts or just click on the P. Treon link in the show notes the resources that were used in this episode our live science dot com fact animal dot com Britannica dot com and at him online dot com all all of those resources are available in the description of this episode and this episode would not have been possible without their contributions I encourage all of you if you so choose to go and explore those resources to your heart's content what an amazing creature we have learned about today of course this is Australia so what could we expect I always love going here to learn about new creatures and so I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did and I look forward to seeing you on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care