Monday, May 2, 2011

Animal Alphabet: E is for Echidna

The grading hasn't gone away yet, so I'm going to have to punt (more or less) for this week's Animal Alphabet, too. I was planning to do a real drawing, and even started the pencils for it, but they didn't go well, and I ran out of time. I'm going to have to fall back on my preliminary doodles again.

Here they are:

You will probably be more familiar with the platypus than with the echidna, the other monotreme. (Monotremes are the mainly-Australian mammals that lay eggs, though three of the four echidna species live on New Guinea and not Australia.) As you can see, they're spiny little guys, and they come in a few different shapes:

The short-nosed version, as I note above, is a sort of mega-hedgehog in its initial appearance. Of course, if you look at them for more than a split second, it's easy to tell a hedgehog from an echidna, especially the babies, since newly hatched echidnas (which are also called puggles, for all you people busily scribbling Harry Potter doggerel) are unformed little blobby things with nary a hair, unlike baby hedgehogs, which are seriously among the cutest things that nature creates.

Meanwhile, in an example of convergent evolution, the long-nosed echidna really looks sort of like a kiwi. Is kiwilike a word? Is there a kiwilikewiki I can consult for an answer to that question, please?

Also, there is apparently a Kokonino Ekidna.

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