It looks like I won't be getting any echidnas this (or next) year. If they were going to require rescuing they'd be rescued by now. Rexie was a very late baby. Normally they'd be well spined and rampaging without Mum at this time of year. I'll have to wait until next November for the next little ball of spiney fun.
No echidnas today
The echidna turned up at a vet's surgery, who then rang the Zoo to come and collect it. Which they did.
I have a mix of disappointment and relief. Disappointment in that I don't get to care for this little puggle, but relief because it only weighs 35g, or about 7 Maddies. Puggles that small are notoriously hard to keep alive because at that age they're not much more than a tiny bag of hairless skin with claws poking from four lumps at each corner and a snout. The puggle is getting the best possible care it can get. The zoo knows that if they can't look after it, I'll do it.
So no puggles today.
The little echidna at the zoo died. One minute it was pink and drinking milk, the next it as grey and dead. The vets there are sad.
Rexie was only 160g when I got her, and H says she's raised them from 90g and 80g. If Zoovets can't raise a 35g puggle it makes me wonder if there is a minimum viable weight for successful echidna raising. Maybe the very small ones are too stressy.
So there's an echidna on his back in the middle of the road. This is usually bad news.
I stopped the car for a closer look, just in case it was still a bit alive and needed that little extra push to stop the pain. He looked at me as he waved his legs about like a spiney tortoise, then curled into a ball.This puzzled me. An echidna with internal injuries can't to this because they're in too much pain, and yet a healthy echidna wouldn't be found stuck on its back in the middle of the road.
I picked him up (love those thick welder's gloves) and put him in a rescue box so I could examine him. He had a few broken spines (which are actually modified hairs and not quills) but they were randomly broken all over his back. Usually a road victim has a band 1 tyre wide of broken spines across their body. He had a bad scrape on his nose, but the blood was coming from that and not from inside his nose. One leg was being held at a funny angle. He let fly with a urine spray that caught my arm, and then ne crapped into the box. It reeked, but at least everything at that end was working properly.
Time to see the zoovets!
I found them eating lunch in their little private outdoor lunch-eating area, under the trees in the non-public end of the zoo. They watched me approach with a white box and a cloud of flies attracted by the smell. The animal in the box whistled. "I bet you've got a cranky echidna," said Tim The Vet. He was right. As soon as I opened the lid, the animal was up and out, and running on his crap-covered feet toward Jo The Vet's hot chips.Tim caught him and saved the chips.
It looks like the animal was run over by a car, but not actually hit. The vehicles sump may have clipped his back spines and sent him tumbling along the road, which caused the scrapes and broken spines. X-rays will show how bad he is internally, but he didn't seem to be in pain.They'll keep him there for a while and release him. I don't know where that will be because the zoo has a near infestation of echidnas. They've chipped 30 animals and they're still finding un-chipped adults.
Too many egg-laying mammals. Ya gotta love this country.
Hairless, prickless PUGGLE!
The puggle's mum was run over by a train on October 31st, and he* was found the next day.
100g of potential rampage.
*I say "He," but only echidnas can tell the difference.
We have tongue movement.
We have milk vanishing.
We have a fed puggle.
Most of it went into Spook, and the rest went onto Spook and me. Little Spook did not like being washed at all. I suppose Echidna mums don't lick their babies.
Spook slurped another 10ml. His weight is 105g, up from 97 when I got him.
Spook drank another 10ml, with a further 5ml going onto him and me. His empty weight was 97g, but after a feed he weighed 102g.
You can see his skin is much darker now, and it's a little rough. The hairs and spines are starting to come through.
Feeding is done by holding Spook in my left hand and dribbling milk into the palm. He snuffles and slurps the milk, occasionally over-balancing in his eagerness and rolling onto his back. Female echidnas don't have nipples and simply exude milk from some bald patches, which the puggle snuffles and slurps up.
My left hand is an echidna boob.
I think I'll make that the title of my biography.
Tonight Spook slurped up 25g of "I Can't Believe It's Not Echidna Milk," pushing his weight from 128g to 153g. What a guts.
60ml, from a spoon, in under 15 minutes. If I can train spook to a spoon it'll be easy to get him to dring from a dish later.
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