If you thought “puggle” was the name for a cross between a beagle and a pug, well, actually you’re right. But “puggle” has another, lesser-known definition, and one that’s arguably even cuter: a baby echidna.
Sydney’s Taronga Zoo announced the birth of three short-beaked echidna puggles on Friday, the first puggles born at the facility in 29 years. Echidnas are one of two mammals — the other being the platypus — that lay eggs, and these puggles hatched in August.
After the young hatch, echidna mothers carry them around for up to two months, until they start to develop spines. Then, the mothers keep the offspring in a burrow and return to feed them every three to six days.
“All three mothers are doing an amazing job and tending to their puggles as needed,” zookeeper Suzie Lemon said in a statement. “We have one mum, Spike, who is so attentive that she returns to feed her baby every second day.”
Echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters, live in the wild in Australia and New Guinea. Though the short-beaked echidna is “relatively abundant” in Australia, people typically don’t seem them in the wild because they are quiet, solitary and reclusive, according to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.