A sweet, little echidna baby was hatched at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for the first time in its history earlier this year, according to the city staple.
The echidna baby, which is called an equally adorable name known as a puggle, is estimated to have hatched on Feb. 14. The puggle, whose sex has not yet been determined, weighed less than an ounce and was smaller than a jelly bean upon hatching. Now, the Valentine’s Day baby weighs just more than a pound and is about 6 inches in length.
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Wildlife specialists at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are pleased at its hatching since the Australian egg-laying mammals are “notoriously difficult to breed in managed care.”
“It is an honor to care for this little one, as we learn more about this species’ reproduction through this puggle’s hatching,” wildlife care specialist Savanna Smith said in a statement. “Mom and puggle are doing extremely well, and we will continue to monitor the puggle’s progress until it is ready to venture out on its own.”
Echidnas are a bit on the introverted side and are solitary animals, only coming together once a year to breed. About a month after conception, females will lay a single, soft egg about the size of a grape that will be placed in a pouch in her abdomen.
It takes up to 10 days for a puggle to hatch and its spiky spines will begin to develop at about 6 to 8 weeks. Once the young echidna weans from its mother at about 6 or 7-months-old, it will be ready to continue its life on its own and no longer have contact with mom.