den: (puggle)

Feeding Bob
Originally uploaded by battyden
Feeding Time for Bob. After slurping down about 1/4 of his body weight, he appears to go to sleep in his ICBINEM. The only sign that he isn't asleep is his pink tongue, snaking its way through the milk as he sucks in the last dregs.

More photos )
den: (puggle)
I now have in care 150 grams of potential rampage. Mel didn't like the name Bob so she named the echidna Pugsley. For the purposes of this journal, I shall call him "Bob" because that is how he was first announced here.
den: (bugger)
Snorkle died. Bugger.

The zoovets did everything they could and he still died. They asked everyone they could get hold of and the prognosis for puggles under 150g is very poor. Snorkle weighed 90g when I got him. Dr Ben did a post mortem but there was nothing wrong as such, just everything was very immature. He said the first person to raise a puggle this small will be writing the book on How To Raise Tiny Puggles, because there is nothing out there now.

den: (puggle)
I rang Dr Timm today to find out how Snorkle is doing. The puggle still isn't drinking properly so they have to tube feed him. It's not ideal but it means he is getting a proper feed. Right not he weighs 83g, up from 74g when I handed him over. It's still too early to declare success but everyone is hopeful.

So, yay for Zoovets!
den: (puggle)
Snorkle's refusal to eat has me really worried, to the extent that today I took him to the zoovets to see if they could help. Dr Timm immediately injected 5ml of rehydration fluid into the poor little puggle. Ooh that must hurt. To answer my question from the other day about how do echidnas feed their puggles (do they roll up? Lay on their back? curl into a ball and lay on the side) we researched the zoo's data, contacted Tarong Park and even got on to an Australian Zookeeper's forum. The answer was found in Peggy Rismuller's book: just a single line in the chapter on lactation, which mentions that you can hear the puggle slurping under the mother as she walks around.

That's it. That is the entirety of all the information on how a puggle drinks in the wild. This is the end of trying to feed the puggle the way mum did. I can't make milk stay on anything upside down. I tried at different times a sponge and a paint brush, but all I ended up doing was giving Snorkle a sponge bath and painting him in milk. In the end it was decided to try to tube feed him, which is not ideal but will get food into him quickly. I am not confident I can do this so I left him with the zoovets. Drs. Timm, Jo and Jody are all on the case. I could see a longer stay with me would be the end of him because I could not get food into him, but Snorkle has a much better chance of surviving now.

The zoo has resources and staff I do not have. If they can get him to the magic 160g mark, I can take over and bring him the rest of the way.
den: (puggle)
Another 5g slurped tonight. Snorkle is still looking a bit thin and wrinkley due to dehydration, but he hasn't dropped any more weight.
den: (puggle)
PLASTIC SPOON! Snorkle slurped down 5g off a plastic spoon! That's a shade less than 7% of his body weight. He should be drinking 10%, but it's a VAST improvrment over what he was drinking. The little hollows under his ribs are little bulges.

Hooray for fresh ICBINEM and plastic spoons.
den: (puggle)
Snorkle seems to have had a FOOD! moment and noisily slurped some I Can't Believe It's Not Echidna Milk. I received a fresh lot of powder today, and he seems to like it. I think my last batch was off.
den: (puggle)
Snorkle still isn't eating properly and I'm worried about dehydration. I took him to a vet for some sub-cutanious fluid injections to keep him going. Right now he is in his box in my room, recovering from the ordeal. Poor little puggle has some big, white welts on his back from the sub-cut.
den: (puggle)
I spoke to the zoovets today, and was rather shocked to discover that whatever I do to raise the puggle will be pretty much cutting edge. There is not as yet an approved method or any "best practise" for raising puggles so small. The zoo has a 50% success rate but they have started with larger puggles. The woman who is considered the country's top echidna rasing expert tube feeds her babies, and has a <40% success rate.

This all lead me to think: "Well... shit. Who do I talk to for advice?" The zoovets and my fellow rescuers have been helpful but have all ended their advice with "Let us know what you did if you're successful."

This is a bit worrying. So here is what I'm doing, and you're reading it here first: Den Invents Very Young Puggle Rearing


Making It Up As I Go.

Tube feeding is out. I don't have the confidence to do that, plus it's totally unnatural. I tried feeding puggle the way I fed Fipps and Rexie, but the puggle kept trying the roll onto its back and ended up covered in milk. And so did I. I had a long think about how it's done in the wild: the puggle clings to the hairy pseudopouch and licks up the milk from the mammery patches. Pseudopouch and oozy mammeries were body mods I was not going to try. I had to fake it.

Puggle needssomething to cling to so I wear loose latex gloves. He clings to the latex while I hold him upside down. Then I use a syringe to put drops of milk on his mouth, a target about 5mm long on the end of a wildly thrashing head. When he tastes it, he stops thrashing. If I'm lucky I can get him to take about 2mls. So far he's staying hydrated (mostly) but he is losing weight: 100g when I got him, 89g today. This isnormal until the puggles get used to the new milk, then they start drinking. New puggle is so tiny that any weight loss is a worry.

And the puggle's name is Snorkle. Photos to come.
den: (puggle)
A baby echidna, about 1 month old. This is the smallest echidna I have ever seen, let alone try to raise. Fipps was twice this size when I got him.

den: (puggle)
Fips' last session with termites before I handed him over to his new carer.

Termite Session )
den: (puggle)
Sun BathingOn Cold mornings Fips would do his imitation of road kill by sprawling in the sun and pressing his belly against warm soil. After 3o minutes he would be ready for action, but until then he'd only move to get a warmer patch of soil.

Spiny Sunbaking. )


30 May 2007 19:44
den: (puggle)

Dog vs Echidna
Originally uploaded by battyden
Some photos of Fips after the cut.

Spiney Goodness )
den: (puggle)
This morning I loaded Fips and his home-made hollow log into the Batmobile, and took him to the farm between Portland and Wallarawang. Simone will do the final stage of his rehab. I know she has a decent yard; she has raised 15 baby wombats over the years, so an echidna will be a doddle.

She is building a new cage around a pile of old fallen timber containing a termite nest, so Fips will have good accommodation. When the times comes, Simone will open the gate and leave him to it.

Goodbye Fips. It's been an interesting six months.


12 May 2007 13:36
den: (puggle)
Tomorrow I will be taking Fips here, where he will be kept in a large cage that encircles some logs and a termite nest. He will be kept for a week or two, then the cage will be removed.

I feel very happy.
den: (puggle)
On Sunday I take Fips to Orange for his final stage of rehab, prior to his release. He will be going out to a farm with lots of termite nests and a large cage.

The lady who will be caring for him is a wombat rehabber.
den: (puggle)
Today brought the sad news of a zookeeper being killed in what is probably South America's second most embarrassing way to die: Killed by an anteater.

I'm lucky, I thought as I walked into my room. My anteater is a nice little thing. Imagine being mauled by an echidna...

My room was trashed. Fips had escaped from his bed-cage and rampaged through my room. A newspaper had been shredded into confetti, the bottom rows the book shelves had all been emptied with the books scattered all over the place. Towels were pulled from racks. My laundry on the floor smelled of echidna wizz. The carpet...

Fips had burrowed under the edges of the carpet, shredding a strip 6" wide and 2 feet long. Underfelt fragments were scattered all over. He found the old rolled scrap near a wall and crawled inside to sleep, which is where I found him.

Tonight I will be making sure his cage is well locked. I do not want to wake up to discover myself being mauled to death by a pissed off echidna. That would be Australia's third-most embarrassing way to die.


den: (Default)

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