Mr. Nature: The Spiny Anteater

Echidna | San Diego Zoo Kids

Jambo! Mr. Nature here, and our safari today takes us to Australia and New Guinea in search of the spiny anteater, aka “echidna,” named for a creature in Greek mythology that was half-snake, half-woman.

These are really weird animals. For one thing, they and the duck-billed platypus are the only mammals that lay eggs. For another, they have the second-lowest body temperature among mammals, behind the platypus. And they’ve got a cloaca instead of separate reproductive and excretory organs. It’s sort of odd that they’re considered mammals at all. But they do have hair, and the babies, once hatched, are fed on milk from the mother’s body. Besides which, what else are we to call them?

As you might expect, they eat ants and termites; and aboriginal people sometimes eat them. No accounting for tastes. They look a lot like hedgehogs but aren’t related to them. They don’t look like platypuses, but those are their closest relatives.

God’s stuff–brought to you by a truly versatile Creator.

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