A baby echidna has found a new home at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, after it was attacked by chickens in a family backyard in Newcastle, New South Wales.
The young echidna, or ‘puggle’, arrived at the zoo in early April, after escaping the attack with only scratches on its belly and hind legs.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital supervisor Annabelle Sehlmeier has taken on the role of primary carer for the four-month-old creature, which has been named Bonsai for its minute size.
Bonsai is fed a special milk mixture from the palm of Ms Sehlmeier’s hand, meant to mimic the patches echidnas have on their abdomens, which excrete milk to their young.
“My palm is the closest thing I’ve got to an echidna belly and it works quite well,”
Ms Sehlmeier said.
Bonsai has been particularly ravenous since his attack, lapping up all that Ms Sehlmeier has to offer. “Normally a baby echidna would feed every 3-5 days when its mum returns to the burrow, but this little one wants to feed every day,” she said.
“I guess it’s making up for lost time.”
The puggle will remain with its temporary mother before learning to feed itself on a special diet.