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||long-beaked, monotremes, echidnas, spur, echidna, gluey, puggle, short-beaked, soft-shelled, mammary, secreted, suckle, covering, spiny, distinctive, lighter
1 Echidnas (pronounced "e-kid-nas") look just like hedgehogs with long, tubular snouts. In fact, their spiny backs and love of ants earn them the nickname "spiny anteaters." Found only in Australia and New Guinea, echidnas are very unmammal-like mammals. What does "unmammal-like" mean? Well, echidnas don't give birth to live young as most mammals do. Instead, they lay eggs. Furthermore, echidnas don't have nipples. Instead, they have mammary glands under their skin that ooze out milk onto two patches of fur on their bellies. Surprisingly, echidnas are not the only animals with these two unique features. Platypuses also lay eggs and have no nipples. Together, echidnas and platypuses make up a distinctive mammal group called monotremes.
2 There are two types of echidnas -- the short-beaked echidna and the long-beaked echidna. Aside from the obvious fact that the short-beaked echidna has a shorter snout than its long-beaked cousin, there are other noticeable differences between the two species:
3 Most of our understanding about echidnas came from observing short-beaked echidnas' behaviors, because they are quite common in Australia and New Guinea. Long-beaked echidnas, residing only in New Guinea, are rare and endangered.
- The short-beaked echidna is smaller and lighter than the long-beaked echidna.
- The short-beaked echidna has more spines on its back than the long-beaked echidna.
- The short-beaked echidna likes to use its sticky tongue to lick off ants and termites. The long-beaked echidna prefers to use its gluey tongue to pick up earthworms.
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