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Biology

Long-beaked echidnas are largely nocturnal and solitary (4). Echindas are sometimes known as spiny anteaters, although the long-beaked echidna feeds mainly on earthworms (3). The tongue has a series of spikes at the front, which are used to 'hook' and reel-in worms and other prey items (4). During the day, individuals seek refuge in burrows, hollow logs and cavities in the ground (4). The long-beaked echidna usually lays one egg into its pouch, which hatches after ten days (4); the infant then remains in the pouch until the spines develop (2). There are no teats; instead milk is lapped from 'milk patches' inside the pouch (2). When threatened, echidnas can erect their spines, and when on soft ground they can burrow down into the substrate so that the spine-free underside is protected. If on a hard surface they roll up into a ball, in a similar way to hedgehogs (2).

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