Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
~James Matthew Barrie
We were SO excited to open this surprise package from Ross Mannell:
Oh my GOODNESS … the anticipation was HARD on us! Okay … we knew a LITTLE in advance about what to expect … but ANY time you get a surprise parcel in the mail from Australia is an AMAZING adventure! You see, the FUNNY thing about this surprise package was … it WASN’T even OUR blog’s birthday. It was ROSS’S Extended Comments for Students Blog‘s birthday … the blog he writes for kids and classes AROUND the world to help them in their learning! WHAT? We KNOW what you are thinking … when it’s someone or something’s birthday … THEY are the ones to receive gifts. But … what should NOT surprise you, if you know ANYTHING about Ross, is that HE is a GIVER … of time, of knowledge, of SURPRISES! You see, ROSS is a CHANGE MAKER! Some of our MOST amazing learning has come from our interactions with our OTHER teacher, Ross Mannell, on the OTHER side of the WORLD!
It was LOVE at FIRST sight … our new “spiny anteater” is ADORABLE! But … that’s not ALL our surprise package contained:
We couldn’t WAIT to introduce our NEW Australian CLASSMATE to our KOALA! But, before doing that, we felt it was important to give our echidna a NAME! Several awesome options were suggested, including Ross, although we finally voted on “Spike”!
The FUNNY thing about these experiences, though, is how they ALWAYS lead us down ANOTHER unknown road toward MORE exciting learning! You should have SEEN us … iPads in hand … searching for ALL the information we could FIND on our new … cuddly, (because he was stuffed), echidna! Ross shared some of his knowledge with us, and an awesome video taken of the REAL Spike at the Potoroo Palace, on his Happy Birthday Post … just to PEEK our interest. And … as ALWAYS … he offered to help us answer any questions we still had.
Below are just SOME of our discoveries about the ADORABLE echidna:
- Australia and South Paupa New Guinea
- where there is a good food supply
- by rocks, small caves, fallen wood
- can adapt to almost any habitat, (grasslands, bushlands, treelands, rocky areas, snow, (they burrow), sand, heath, semi-arid and deserts)
- grubs and larvae
- use echolocation to find their prey
- tear logs apart to find their food
- use their tongue to lick out termites and ants from their mounds
- they are carnivores (meat-eaters)
- they use their large, strong claws to rip open mounds and nests
- mating season begins in July and ends in August
- monotreme … mammals that lay EGGS … the only OTHER mammal that does this is the platypus
- starts off as tiny egg
- eggs have rubbery shells … like reptiles
- ten days to hatch
- size of a jellybean when they hatch
- called puggles when they are babies
- once born, hairless and blind, they crawl into the mother’s pouch
- after several months, when the spines and claws are developed, they live on their own in the burrow
- echidnas can live to be 45 or 50 years old
- spines 2 inches (5 cm) long
- has a short coat of fur to keep warm and long spines
- belly is covered with soft hair
- weigh 5 to 10 kgs (11 to 22 pounds)
- 30 to 53 cm long (12 to 21 inches)
- spines made of same material as our fingernails
- sharp claws which don’t retract
- sticky tongue – 15 cm (6 inches) long … half their length
- no teeth (except for when they are born … then they have an “egg tooth” to help break out of the egg … like birds!)
- in the South they have darker fur … in the North they have lighter fur
- snout is 7 – 8 cm long (3 inches) on the short beaked echidna
- short and stalky
- resembles a porcupine
Other Interesting Facts:
- can lift things twice its weight
- echidna means “mythical monster”
- they can swim
- they don’t like the heat
- echidna LOOKS tough but would rather NOT fight
- tasmanian devil is an enemy, as are fox, dogs, feral cats, eagles, dingos, goannas and humans
- they can run 30 kms per hour (18 miles per hour)
- Latin name: kingdom: animalia; pylum: chordata; class: mammalia; subclass: prototheria; order: monotremata; family: tachyglossidae; genus: tachyglossus; species: t.aculeatus
- also known as the spiny anteater
- long beaked echidna is only found in New Guinea
- endangered (because people would hunt them with dogs)
- horny pads on the back of their tongues instead of teeth
Our NEXT steps will take a little Google EARTH journey to help us learn a little more about Yellow Pinch, New South Wales! Thank you, Ross, for making learning SUCH an adventure! You are a HUGE part of our learning journey!
HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, “EXTENDED COMMENTS FOR STUDENTS”!
We think you ROCK!!!
We still wonder:
- why do people hunt echidnas?
- is it easy to tell the difference between male and female echidnas by just looking at them?
- can they ever lay more than one egg at a time?
- how old are they when they lay their first egg?
- do people own them as pets … like they own guinea pigs and chinchillas?
- how do they KNOW where to crawl to get to the pouch, since they are born blind?
- can they see in colour?