Do your kids love animal facts? If so, these facts about echidnas for kids are for them! If so, they will love these neat small mammals! Echidnas are cool little animals that are part of a special type of mammal group called monotremes, which are animals that lay eggs but feed their babies milk. They have chill personalities and don’t get in much of a hurry. So much so that because of their slow lifestyle, they can have a life span of up to 50 years.
Facts About Echidnas for Kids to Enjoy!
These small mammals are solitary animals but they aren’t territorial. They don’t mind sharing their home with others of their kind. Which just speaks to that chill personality! Although there are still estimated to be about 10,000 echidnas, their population has decreased to the point that they are extinct in some parts of the world. The biggest threat to echidnas is hunting and farming.
Your kids will love learning interesting facts about these special animals. Below are some kid-friendly facts about echidnas’ homes, babies, habits, different species, and more. We hope you enjoy these facts about echidnas for kids!
Check out these Amazing Fun Facts about the Echidna Species
There are four types of echidnas:
Western long-beaked echidna
- one of the four living echidnas that feed on earthworms
- weighs an average of 36lbs, making it the largest monotreme
- found in parts of Papua and Indonesia at elevations reaching between 4,300 feet and 13,100 feet
- prefers montane forests and alpine meadow regions
- listed as critically endangered
Sir David’s long-beaked echidna
- found mainly in New Guinea, they live in the Cyclops Mountains
- named after the famous naturalist David Attenborough
- males are typically larger than females, they weigh an average of between 11 lbs and 22 lbs
Eastern long-beaked echidna
- found mainly in New Guinea in regions with elevations of between 6,600 feet and 9,800 feet above sea level
- unlike the other species of echidna, this species has four claws on the forefeet and five on the hind feet
- their average weight ranges from 11 lbs to 22 lbs and a body length of between 24 inches and 39 inches
- they have dense black fur and they don’t have a tail
- the female long-beaked echidnas are larger than the male echidnas and they can live up to 30 years
- have a special tongue and a distinctive snout which they use to catch insects
- they have strong forelimbs and claws which they use to dig their burrows
- this species can tolerate high levels of carbon dioxide or survive in low levels of oxygen, which is helpful to survive underground
- they are native to Australia and both the coastal and highland regions of New Guinea
- they are not endangered, but their numbers have been reduced because of habitat loss because of humans and new predatory species
- Scientific name: tachyglossus aculeatus
Interesting Echidna fact: Echidnas located in South Australia tend to be darker in color than those found more East.
Baby Echidna Facts for Kids
- Echidnas are one of only two mammals in the world that lay eggs (the other is the duck-billed platypus)
- Echidnas’ breeding season is July and August and a mother only lays one egg per year – just one, single egg.
- After only three weeks of pregnancy, the female echidna lays one soft, leathery egg and nudges it into her pouch where the egg hatches in just ten days
- Echidna babies are called puggles and they only weigh about half as much as a miniature marshmallow when they hatch
- Puggles are born without any hair or their spiky spines
- The echidna baby will remain in the mother’s pouch, using their strong claws to grip the mother’s hair, for about 53 days, until their sharp spines start to grow
- After the puggle starts growing its spiky hair, the mother puts the young echidna in a burrow where she returns to feed it every 5 to 10 days until it’s about 7 months old
What in the world is an Echidna Train?
It’s a love story, really. An echidna train is all about echidna courtship. Echidna train is a funny name for a line of male echidnas, who are lined up trying to attract a female. Male echidnas form a line, just like you might at school in the hallway, and follow along behind a female echidna. This group of males follows the female, hoping to be the one she chooses as her mate. These lines, playfully nicknamed echidna love trains, are seen throughout winter (the echidna’s breeding season). These lines of adult echidnas are on average around three to five “echidnas long”.
Facts About Echidna Habitats
- Echidnas inhabit open heathland, forests, woodlands, scrublands, and grasslands, among vegetation or in hollow logs
- They are found in Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea
- Echidnas prefer areas with loose topsoil because they dig for their food and shelter, but they can dig through hard-packed dirt as well
- In poor weather, echidnas will shelter under bushes or burrow into the soil
- Echidnas are mostly seen in the early morning or late evening because they avoid extreme temperatures
Echidna Diet Facts for Kids
- Echidnas feed primarily on large amounts of earthworms, ants, termites, insect larvae, and other small insects. Termite mounds are an echidna’s favorite lunch spot. If you’ve ever seen a zoo show about echidnas, you know that termites are probably their favorite food.
- They use their keen sense of smell to locate food, and their sharp claws to dig to tear open termite nests and rip apart tree bark and rotting logs
- Once an echidna finds its prey, it uses its long sticky tongue to retrieve it
- Echidnas have no teeth, they use hard pads on the tongues and roofs of their mouths to smash the food into an easy to swallow paste
Echidna Defense Facts
- Echidna’s spines are an echidna’s best defense mechanism when predators strike
- They will roll up into a ball of radiating spines to protect themselves or dig themselves to safety in soft ground with their powerful front feet
- Echidnas have coarse hair between their spines to keep them warm
Echidnas are so interesting! I hope you’ve enjoyed these facts about echidnas for kids. Their tiny face, slender snout, and short legs make them so cute and their long and fast tongue, spiky spines, and laid-back personalities make them so cool! I hope you and your kids enjoy these echidna facts as much as my kids and I did!
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Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.