24 October 2012
MEET Muggles. He is a puggle. The baby echidna is the size of a tennis ball and weighs little more than 100 grams.
But this tiny marsupial mustered up a crew of volunteers who saved his life in a mammoth four-day journey.
The puggle was found orphaned near Lightning Ridge last week.
He is now safe and sound at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital at Beerwah.
His four-day journey included two plane flights, hundreds of kilometres of road travel and countless hours of arrangements.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital rehabilitation co-ordinator Vicky Toomey said Muggles would need specialised care for the next six months before being released back into the wild.
"Puggles are particularly difficult to look after as they have different requirements to most other orphaned mammals," Ms Toomey said.
"Puggles of this size can take up to 10 days to adjust to hand-raising and consume enough food to put on weight." The blue tinge to Muggles is from the spines and fur starting to emerge.
WHAT’S A PUGGLE?
A baby echidna or platypus. The echidna lays an egg which is incubated in the pouch and a newborn is hatched about 10 days later. A puggle is about 1.3cm long and weighs less than 1 gram when it is born.