Echidna Puggle Reaches Next Stage of Rehab at Taronga

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 12, 2022 12:01 am

Taronga Zoo Short Beaked Echidna

Weja the short-beaked echidna is held by a carer at the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital

Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

A baby short-beaked echidna rescued by Taronga Zoo Sydney has begun transitioning away from the carer who helped raise it after its rescue.

This week echidna puggle Weja spent its first night at the Taronga Zoo wildlife hospital away from adopted parent, Taronga Veterinary Nurse Elizabeth McConnell. She took the pup to her house and fed it a special milk formula.

“It’s a big day for both of us,” she said. “It’s exploring a lot more, it’s more active and it has begun digging. It doesn’t need to be at home with me anymore.”

Weja was named for the place in New South Wales where it was found, approximately six hours from the CBD.

As it begins the next stage of life Liz has prepared a larger tub of dirt and leaf litter to live in at the wildlife hospital.

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“I’m feeling a little nervous,” Liz says, “I guess like mums do when they leave their young ones overnight for the first time. But I’m happy.”

Weja has been estimated at 5 months old. “In the wild, at this stage of its life, its mother would be returning to the burrow every 3-10 days to feed it, so I am basing my feeds on this behaviour. When Weja is awake and active, I know it is time to feed it, otherwise it is asleep and digesting the milk," said Liz.

“I also feel and look at its abdomen to make sure it doesn't have a belly full or partly full of milk, as they need to have fully digested the previous milk feed before the next one. The longest time Weja has gone between feeds is six days, which was after a very large volume of milk – it drank 39.5 per cent of its body weight in one hour!”

As he grows the pup is now being introduced to an adult echidna diet as it continues towards return to the wild.

Learn more about Short-Beaked Echidnas here - Short-Beaked Echidna Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Taronga Zoo on their website – Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo Short Beaked Echidna

Weja the short-beaked echidna puggle settles in to life at the Taronga Zoo Sydney Wildlife Hospital

Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

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