Science

This extra large Tasmanian echidna from Australia is stealing hearts

The chonky creature got a happy ending after being cared for at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.

This unusually large short-beaked echidna is both chonky and adorable. 
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary/Facebook

Bushfires have been burning a path through Australia for months, destroying everything in their path, including millions of animals. But one Aussie creature got a happy ending. 

After being injured by a car, this Tasmanian echidna was brought to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, where it got the medical treatment it needed. And lots of attention for its extra large size. 

"Quite possibly the fattest echidna we have ever seen," Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday. "This fine lady was clipped by a car, but luckily only had a couple of minor bruises! She has now been released. How gorgeous is she?!"

The Tasmanian short-beaked echidna looks a bit like a hedgehog or a porcupine covered in fur and hollow, barbless quills. It's a mammal but it lays eggs, which makes it a monotreme

An echidna also has a distinctive snout (not a beak like its name implies) and a specialized tongue to eat ants and other insects.

A short-beaked echidna, which lives in Australia, can grow to up to 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) and weigh around 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms). The long-beaked echidna, which dwells in New Guinea and Indonesia, can grow up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) and weigh up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms). 

This particular short-beaked echidna cared for at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary looks a lot heavier than 5.5 pounds. Sadly, volunteers there  didn't post the weight of the injured creature for comparison with its typical cousins.

To be on the safe side, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary sedated the rather large echidna before snapping a photo of her looking relaxed in a sitting position. 

There are no new updates from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary on how the adorable echidna is doing since its release back into the wild, but here's hoping the animal lives a long, happy life.