The spiny anteater is a monotreme. Monotremes are a type of egg-laying mammal.
The spiny anteater can only be found in Australia, Tasmania and parts of New Guinea.
Spiny anteaters are most active at night, except when the weather is cold.
The spiny anteater has a good sense of smell and is also known as the short nosed echidna (which is the more common variety).
It can easily demolish a termite mound in an attempt to reach its favourite food. It mostly eats termite ants and other small invertebrates, which it grinds up in its mouth with specially adapted spines instead of teeth.
The spiny anteater is round and covered in closely set spines – a bit like a giant hedgehog.
When threatened, the spiny anteater will roll itself into a ball, exposing its sharp spines.
The female give birth to a single, sticky egg in a specially formed ‘pouch’, called the incubatorium, where it hatches seven to ten days later. The pouch is not permanent and only develops once the egg has been fertilised. The egg is leathery unlike a bird’s egg.
When the baby is born it is blind and hairless and only 1.25 cm long. The baby stays in the pouch until its spine is fully formed – about 3 weeks later and then it leaves the pouch.
Spiny anteaters grow to 36 to 99 cm long with a 10cm long tail.
Spiny anteaters can live for over 50 years.Read More: Kookaburras