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What are Echidnas?

How much do we really know about these strange looking creatures?

In this classic Bondi Vet clip, Dr. Chris Brown is introduced to an alien like creature while visiting Tim Faulkner at the Australian Reptile Park - The puzzled vet has a seemingly simple mission: to work out what on earth this tiny creature is. The answer is an adorable, yet strange looking, baby echidna.

Echidnas are native Australian mammals belonging to the Tachyglossidae family. Similar to platypuses, they are one of five species of egg-laying mammals otherwise know as monotremes.

These strange looking creatures appear similar to porcupines. Echidna’s backs are covered in tiny spikes, which are used to protect themselves when in danger. Echidnas have a long beak, with electroreceptors at the tip to assist when searching for food. Their snouts are also used to break up termite banks and ant mounds, which they feed on using their long, sticky tongue.

As well as tiny insects, baby echidnas feed on their mother’s milk, which comes from the mammary gland. As seen with the baby echidna orphan in the clip, the palm of a person’s hand is a good way to depict a mother’s mammary gland for feeding purposes.

The baby echidna in the video, also know as a puggle, is kept inside an esky. This is because echidnas do not cope well in high temperatures. When they aren't hiding away in the cool temperatures of a burrow, echidnas are typically found hidden beneath vegetation or under roots.

Although echidnas are generally land animals, they are also talented swimmers who like to bathe in water.

As seen in the video baby echidnas, look very different to fully-grown echidnas. Their spines have yet to develop, leaving them hairless and quite unusual looking. In the wild, the lack of hair allows the mother echidna to carry the puggles safely in her pouch until they become too spiky to carry around.

FACT OF THE DAY: The echidna is one of Australia’s most extraordinary native animals, which can also be found on the five-cent coin.

For more information on Australian wildlife, don’t forget to tune into Bondi Vet, 6:30pm Saturday on Channel Ten.

How do I toilet train my cat

I rescued an adult female, desexed cat six months ago. Apparently she’s always been an outside cat. I have another cat who is mostly indoors and I would only let outside during the day if I was home. Luna didn’t like being indoors and wasn’t using the litter tray properly. I had her confined in the bathroom for a few days to get use to it and she would go next to it, rarely in it. She will sometimes use a tray otherwise will urinate or poop on the floor. I am at wits end. I have two trays, I’ve changed the type of litter, put dirt in the tray, picked up the poop and put it in the tray to show her that where it goes. I’ve used spray in the tray to attract her to want to use the tray. I bought felliway diffuser which is meant to calm cats and have also used the rescue remedy drops in her food. I’ve recently moved house where there is a cat enclosure so she can go in and out when ever she pleases but still goes in the kitchen (as I now close the bathroom door when she started going to the toilet in there), but tonight I noticed she’s been going in the spare room if anything is left on the floor which is carpeted. So I’ve now cleared that whole room to prevent her from going to the toilet. She is still going in the kitchen. I’ve tried cleaning the area and eliminating her scent by using water and vinegar then once dry use bi carb soda and hydrogen peroxide and it has made no difference. She’s been tested for a bladder infection which came up negative. I love animals. I have another cat which she now gets along with and two dogs which she is still getting use to. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give her up but feel like I will have no choice.