Turns out, a puggle isn’t just a dog breed (you know, the adorable mix between a beagle and a pug). It’s also the name of a baby echidna — and one now lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The puggle, which was estimated to have been born on Valentine’s Day, is the first-ever hatching in the Safari Park’s history. The small animal is a unique Australian mammal, characterized by small eyes and a distinctive snout, which is also considered a beak.
Wait, a mammal with a beak? Yup — puggles are one of only two mammals that lay eggs. (The other? A platypus.)
The now four-month-old puggle is now “gaining strength and thriving,” according to the a press release from the San Diego Zoo Global. It is still developing, but moving around on its wobbly legs and using its sharp claws to dig into the ground for balance. The majority of the puggle’s day consists of sleeping.
“It is an honor to care for this little one, as we learn more about this species’ reproduction through this puggle’s hatching. Mom and puggle are doing extremely well, and we will continue to monitor the puggle’s progress until it is ready to venture out on its own,” said Savanna Smith, a wildlife care specialist at San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Unfortunately, the puggle is not currently on view for the public. However, adult echidnas, like mom Orange and dad Shaw, can sometimes be seen in the animal ambassador area at Walkabout Australia or during a Behind-the-Scenes Safari.
*Note: Due to the COVID-19, check the San Diego Zoo Safari Park website at sdzsafaripark.org to confirm hours before visiting.