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Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – one of the most interesting and mysterious animals on the planet. Until now, scientists have not determined how did these strange creatures who their ancestors. In this species there is a sufficiently large number of relatives, but most of them died out long ago, and now live the only one of them – the varieties of spiny anteaters.
Distributed by this small animal almost the entire territory of Australia, southern and eastern parts of the island of New Guinea and Tasmania. It was first described by the zoologist George Shaw in 1792, misidentified as Australian echidna anteater family. Later, the animal was found cesspool, which made it possible to classify it to the order of monotremes, to which attributed and platypus.
Externally, the most animal looks like a hedgehog – his whole body covered with coarse stiff hairs, and the sides and back bristling with long, 5 – 6 cm needles are yellow with black tips. The length of the short-beaked echidna grows up to 50 cm, while keeping the weight up to 7 kg. The tail and ears are so small that practically invisible. Muzzle ehidnyMordochka vipers have very elongated, up to 7.5 cm in length, and plays an extremely important role in the life of the animal, as the vision he is weak, and the environment is known mainly through the sense of smell and hearing. The mouth, which is a very small hole in the end faces, has no teeth, but it fits sticky tongue, having a length of 25 cm.
With the help of this tool viper earn their food, which consists of termites, ants, worms and other small insects, in what looks like a giant anteater. The powerful front legs equipped with claws allow it to destroy the walls of termite mounds, and then the course is the language (the video of the process below).
Missing teeth is compensated by the presence of hard pads in the back of the mouth, on which food is ground. In addition, together with the food into the stomach enter the earth and sand, which contribute to the final production chafing. She knows how to swim!
Australian vipers are nocturnal, and very secretive. Only recently scientists data on the reproduction of these animals were obtained. It turned out that a marriage between them lasts from May to September, which corresponds to the Australian winter. At this time animals are collected in groups consisting of one female and one to six males. Approximately during the month of vipers feed and live together, after which the males begin courting the female, consisting in potykivanii muzzles in her tail and sniffing.
When the female short-beaked echidna is ready to mate, the male part of the group begins to circle around it, throwing the ground legs. After some time around the object of desire of males formed trench to a depth of 25 cm, after which they start pushing, pushing each other beyond its borders. Remaining inside the circle in the end the winner and will mate with the female.
Surprisingly, as the Echidna bears posterity. After 3-4 weeks after mating, the female lays an egg! This does not by any other mammal, except the platypus. Then an egg the size of a pea, is placed in a bag on his stomach (as it makes the animal is still unknown), and 10 days of it appears detenysh.ehidny tangle))
The offspring of mother’s pouch is about 50 days, all the while feeding on milk. Nipples Australian echidna is not, so the milk is allocated directly from the body in a special area called the Milky field, where it licks the calf. After 50 days, the female leaves the cubs in the burrow and go, visiting him every 5-10 days to feed. Continued feeding of almost 5 months, after which the young lady becomes independent.