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  • Long-beaked echidna – very unusual animal – is included to the family of echidnas. Earlier, it had a couple of subspecies, which now unfortunately are extinct. This animal is considered the largest mammal among egg-laying. Certain individuals grow up to 16 kg, reaching 80 cm in length, while their average weigh is up to 10 kg.

    Echidna’s rostrum or beak is about 60% of the length of the entire head. It has a curved shape. There is a small mouth and breathing holes at the end of the rostrum. Tongue of Long-beaked echidna is rather long with small sharp thorns. In this way the nature has compensated it the lack of teeth.

    The wool of this protothere is quite tough, dark-brown and sometimes black. Small needles are hidden on the sides and back among the hair of echidna. The needles color can be not only very light, but also black.

    The limbs of Long-beaked echidna are noticeably longer than Spiny anteater has. The legs muscles are powerful and claws are strong and thick. There are five fingers on the animal’s hindlegs but only three in the fores, as the first and fifth fingers are reduced, and look like a small bulge. The tail, on average, is about 6 cm.

    Long-beaked echidna habitat is Indonesia, exactly the north-west of New Guinea, and also the islands of Salavat and Waigeo. A humid environment of mountain forests is the most favorable conditions for this animal/

    These mammals’ more common food are earthworms. Echidnas easily digging in the ground searching goodies thanks to their beak. And when they catch the worm, suck it into my mouth with the help of tongue of thirty centimeters long. Besides, Long-beaked echidna does not disdain termites, whose nest ones easily break by powerful legs, and also larvae of some insects and sometimes ants.

    In addition, echidna uses its beak as a lever, turning the large stones, and as another limb to overcome the obstacles in its way. Usually it never avoids obstacles, even large puddles, preferring to continue to climb ahead, or to move swimming. In case of danger, the animal pressed to the ground, bends his head and puts its needles out.

    Long-beaked echidna remains active even during sudden changes in air temperature, adjusting its own body temperature in the range from 25 to 36 degrees of Celsius. However, if the environmental conditions are very unfavorable, they just hibernate.

    These mammals’ reproduction period is summer, namely July. After some time the female lays one egg placing it in a special brood pouch. Till now, it’s still not known how it works. It seldom happens that female lays two eggs, and even known about 3-4 eggs, that can be called an anomaly.

    The offspring hatch after 10 days, it will be fed by breast milk until its age of six months. It’s naturally that Long-beaked echidna has not milk nipples, lactating female produces milk directly from the skin on the inner surface of her bag. Cubs simply lick it.

    According its size Long-beaked echidna lives very long. Statistics says, they live up to 30 years.

    These animals have enrolled in the Red book long ago. Their number in nature is continuously declining due to ongoing deforestation for agricultural areas. In addition, meat of Long-beaked echidna is very popular among the local population, so they hunt on echidnas. The Indonesian authorities have strictly banned sport hunting for this endangered species, but in spite of the law, people with specially trained dogs, continue to hunt actively and catch hundreds of Long-beaked echidnas.

    At their habitats these animals make up 1.6 individuals per square kilometer. To protect them is quite difficult because of the lack of information about the biology of Long-beaked echidna, more over they practically do not reproduce at zoo gardens and in captivity. However, it is absolutely inadmissible that this unusual animal just disappeared.