One of the oldest, rarest, shyest, silliest-looking yet potentially most illuminating mammals on earth.
June 9, 2009 9:31 AM   Subscribe

The long-beaked echidna: plump, terrier-size creatures abristle with so many competing notes of crane, mole, pig, turtle, tribble, Babar and boot scrubber that if they didn’t exist, nobody would think to Photoshop them. More info, video, and images here and here.
posted by amro (25 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love echidnas!
The short beaked echidna, Victor (formerly Erma) at the San Diego Zoo is the oldest mammal at the Zoo (~50). Seeing him eat the insect mush they feed him is a hidden highlight of the Children's Zoo section.
posted by hellogoodbye at 9:51 AM on June 9, 2009


Maybe not Photoshop, but possibly a Sporechidna? (Knuckles was the first echidna I'd ever run across, so it's cool to see an actual example.)
posted by not_on_display at 9:56 AM on June 9, 2009


[...] Muse Opiang was working as a field research officer when he became seized by a passion for the long-beaked echidna [...]

Ok, is that going to be the next Garfunkel and Oates song?
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:03 AM on June 9, 2009


That doesn't look like Knuckles to me.
posted by orville sash at 10:06 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The long-beaked echidna has the longest tongue of any species.

One must assume that the female echidna is the happiest creature the world over.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:10 AM on June 9, 2009


Awesome, thanks!
posted by leotrotsky at 10:12 AM on June 9, 2009


One must assume that the female echidna is the happiest creature the world over.

Perhaps....but why does the male have a 4 headed penis?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:30 AM on June 9, 2009


I'd like to hear an Echidna's Arf (of you).
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:32 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]




4 headed penis? They ejaculate out of 2 of them at a time, and switch over to the other 2 for the next copulation, kind of like hemipenises of reptiles.
posted by porpoise at 10:55 AM on June 9, 2009


The echidna is the platypus for zoology snobs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2009


Reproductively, monotremes are like a VCR-DVD unit
posted by rosswald at 11:34 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thylacine's link above is comedy gold.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:03 PM on June 9, 2009


Wooda! So adorable!
posted by marginaliana at 12:12 PM on June 9, 2009


Rosswald, the beginning of that sentence had me baffled, too. I don't think my VCR-DVD combo device is much of anything like monotreme reproduction.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:41 PM on June 9, 2009


Though that would explain the milky and sometimes pink ooze that trickles out its underside.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:41 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Adorable. It looks like something crafted by Jim Henson. Wait a minute...
posted by Skeptic at 12:58 PM on June 9, 2009


Ya, I am all for science journalism that is accessible to people from all backgrounds, but that metaphor made me wince.
posted by rosswald at 1:26 PM on June 9, 2009


Now I have the song "Mammals" by They Might Be Giants in my head.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:14 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


4 headed penis? They ejaculate out of 2 of them at a time, and switch over to the other 2 for the next copulation, kind of like hemipenises of reptiles.

I wish I could say that this statement was even the slightest bit alarming, or even eyebrow-raising... but my sense of shock has been filed down to a nub. The internet, she has shown me... such horrors as you could not imagine. Sometimes, I wish the images seared into my mind were ONLY ejaculating two at a time, with reptiles.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:17 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I first read "long baked," and wondered if it was ethical to eat an animal that was so rare. Then I wondered when the author had eaten tribble, boot scrubber, and the lovable cartoon elephant...
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2009


Echidnas are pretty common, and we regularly see them on trips in the country. On occasion they also visit, once memorably crawling along a shelf in my Dad's garage knocking over a bunch of paint cans.
When they cross the road they just waddle long. You can walk beside them and they ignore you - what are you going to do, spike yourself?
And the spikes aren't sharp, more like a stiff hair brush or widely spaced hair comb.
posted by bystander at 4:38 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our brains are 30% "neocortex" (the stuff we think with, evidently), theirs are 50%.
posted by jamjam at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2009


Needs "cloaca" tag.

I just wanted to say "cloaca."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:37 PM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Echidnas are okay if you run out of pangolins.
posted by metagnathous at 7:27 AM on June 10, 2009


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