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also known as spiny anteaters,[2] belong to the family Tachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. There are four extant species, which, together with the platypus, are the only surviving members of that order and are the only extant mammals that lay eggs.[3] Although their diet consists largely of ants and termites, they are no more closely related to the true anteaters of the Americas than to any other placental mammal. They live in Australia and New Guinea. Echidnas are small, solitary mammals[4] covered with coarse hair and spines. Superficially, they resemble the anteaters of South America and other spiny mammals such as hedgehogs and porcupines. They have snouts which have the functions of both mouth and nose. Their snouts are elongated and slender. Like the platypus, they are equipped with electrosensors, but while the platypus has 40,000 electroreceptors on its bill, the long-billed echidna has only 2,000, and the short-billed echidna, which lives in a drier environment, has no more than 400 located at the tip of its snout.[5] They have very short, strong limbs with large claws, and are powerful diggers. Echidnas have a tiny mouth and a toothless jaw. The echidna feeds by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like, and using its long, sticky tongue, which protrudes from its snout, to collect prey. The short-beaked echidna's diet consists largely of ants and termites, while the Zaglossus species typically eats worms and insect larvae.[6] Long-beaked echidnas have sharp, tiny spines on their tongues that help capture their prey.[6] Echidnas and the platypus are the only egg-laying mammals, known as monotremes

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Spotted by

4417, Queensland, Australia

Lat: -27.15, Long: 149.07

Spotted on Jul 31, 2010
Submitted on Feb 24, 2012

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