Monday, December 31, 2007

Long-beaked Echidna

The long-beaked echidna, Zaglossus bruijni, is a solitary creature that can grow to almost 2 feet in length. They have no teeth; their tongues are covered in small projections that help hook worms, insect larvae, and termites. Females can lay several eggs at once, keeping the young in the pouch until they start developing their spines. Long-beaked echidnas are found in Papua New Guinea, where hunting by local people and habitat destruction are leading to their endangerment. A related species, Attenborough's long-beaked echidna (Z. attenboroughi) was thought to be extinct. However, recent evidence may confirm that a population still survives.

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