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Echidnas, or spiny anteaters, are egg-laying mammals. They have strong bodies, short legs, and large feet and claws. They use their claws to dig up and eat ants, termites, and worms. They are covered with coarse hair and spines. Female echidnas lay eggs which hatch in 7-10 days. When the young come out, they stay in the mother's pouch for 6-8 weeks. During that time they nurse and develop a spine. The average life span for an echidna is over 50 years. Humans are the only longer living mammals. Echidnas can get to be 50 cm. (20 in.) and can weigh 6.5 kg. (14 lbs.).
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|