The Western long-beaked echidna, scientific name Zaglossus bruijni is a carnivorous mammal with a 9 kg weight of an adult, a body length of 45 – 77 cm as well as 23 days of gestation period. This ferocious mammal is one of four existing echidnas and one of the three species of Zaglossus.
Western Long-beaked Echidna profile
This spiny eater mammal is available in the green, arid, or mountains of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea.
This interesting mammal lives on and breathes by using its bald tubular beak, the flannel-like beak comes out of the dome-shaped body that is covered in numerous spines for their self-defense from the predators.
They have some other common names in different countries, Western Long-Nosed Echidna, and New Guinea Echidna.
Western Long-beaked Echidna Description
The bodily description of the Western long-beaked echidna is quite fascinating. Western Long-beaked Echidna is an egg-laying mammal.
They don’t have any tail and live around 30-45 years in the wild and without any intervention.
Unlike the short-baked Echidna, which eats ants and gallbladder, the long-bred species eat the shrimp. The longer-brewed echidna is larger than the short-bred species, reaching 16.5 kilograms (36 lbs).
The species found in Guinea is 60 cm in length, though the average size is recorded as 100 cm on average. There is a clear distinction in their fur and spiny body. The spines of the long-beaked species are comparatively shorter as well as lesser in numbers compared to the short-beaked echidna.
The fur is also quite different, less in number, medium in size, and dark brown in color. The beak is very useful for them and works like the hands in order to explore food, leaf litter, and all other things.
The snout becomes longer and lowers downward, And the spines are almost indistinguishable from those of the long fur.
It is distinguished by the number of frontal and back legs from the other Zaglossus species: three (rarely four).
Distribution and housing
The habitat f the mammal is in the deep forest and in the land where foods are available. The species is found in the major peninsula of the bird and in the mountains of Tasmania, Australia, West Papua, and Indonesia in the Foja Mountains of Indonesia, at an altitude of 1,300 and 4,000 meters (4,300 and 13,100 feet), respectively.
It is absent from the lowlands and northern coasts of the south. Its preferred habitat is Alpine plains and moist montane forests.
It is available in the alpine meadow as well as humid mountain forests having altitudes between 1300 to 4000 meters or 4265 to 13123 feet. They are not that much social and love to live, roam, and prey alone.
The species was identified by re-examining a specimen from the British Museum (Tring Collection), collected at a site in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia. John T. Tony is labeled on skin and scalp as part of the material collected in an expedition across the region in the 1930s.
If true, this is evidence of a species believed to have been extinct for millennia in Australia; The only records of the time of the Zaglossas were the fossils of the Pleistocene period.
The tongue of the long-beaked echidna is quite short compared to that of the short-beaked echidna.
There are backward-pointing barbs all over the slender tongue, the barbs are to hook the earthworms as well as other related food and pull to the mouth in the wink of eyes.
They live in the forest where human activities and footsteps are nil, or low. According to the IUCN, this mammal is critically endangered due to predation, hunting, killing, and pouching.
The Western Long-beaked Echidna lives on mostly earthworms. There are some other diets they take are, little insects, ants, ants eggs, reptiles, and alike.
All the day long they’re after their hunts. They are much faster to move and chase the prey if needed. Because of the funnel shape nose and the sharp senses, they can dig out their food easily.
The reproduction system of the Long-Beaked Echidna is the same as the Long-Beaked Echidna’s. They come together only during the breeding season.
The female may be found with a lot of her admirers.
4-5 soft-shelled, leathery eggs are laid by the female in 23 days gestation time into a temporary pouch that is particularly formed for the breeding purpose by abdominal muscles and subcutaneous mammary tissue of the animal.
This procedure keeps the eggs safe in the soft, worm, and hidden from any predator.
After laying its eggs, Western long-beaked echidna becomes very serious to hatch them in safety.
The incubation period of the eggs is 1o days
After that, the infants come out of the shell by using their egg tooth and fleshy bulb, which is also called the caruncle, which is a structural holdover from the offspring’s reptilian ancestry.
Immediate after coming out of the eggs, the infants gradually become habituated with the environment.
The baby echidna is strongly secured in a unique nursery burrow and sucks milk from special mammary hairs.
The mother lacks tits and nipples in order to feed milk. Gradually the infants get older and strong enough.
The baby leaves the burrow for an independent, solitary life its body is completely covered by numerous spines and blackish fur. In the independent phase, the young are capable of feeding on their own.
Echidnas cal live long, some ore up to 45 years in the wild.
The life of this mammal is not quite safe and sound. There are several predators to make their living dangerous. It is very sad to learn that humans are the supreme predators of Western Long-beaked Echidna.
Many of these animals are hunted every year for several purposes by humans. Among other predators of the Western Long-beaked Echidna, we many name dingoes, eagles, foxes, and Tasmanian Devil, etc.
The species is listed by IUCN as critically endangered; The numbers have declined due to habitat loss and humanitarian activities, including hunting. Their meat is edible to many people and that causes a great danger for the animal.
Western long-beaked echidna is considered a tasty meal, and although commercial hunting of the species has been prohibited by the Indonesian and Papua New Guinean governments, traditional tiger hunting is permitted.
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