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.


poop.
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: (rescues)
Peewee has decided he is not a baby and is trying to perch instead of crouching in the nest. He still screams for FOOD THIS INSTANT! I can tell how hungry he is judging by his reaction to Polly: if she flicks an ear and he begs for food, he's very hungry.

Speaking of hungry, Snorkle has put on 5 grams since yesterday which makes him 10g lighter than when I got him. It is quite possible he will survive.
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

Or

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.

Puggle
den: (puggle)
>720g


I mixed 1teaspoon of ICBINT into Fips' milk. He is not happy about the lumpy bits. I'm certain he clenched his teeth (or horney plates) and strained the meat out before he swallowed, so the plate emptied of milk and filled with mushy meat. I had to stop him from diving completely into the plate so I blocked him with my hand. Fips forced his nose between my fingers and clawed at them. He couldn't quite reach all the way into the plate so he got what he wanted by using his tongue. Wow. Food hunting behaviour for simulated termites at a simulated termite mound.

He still doesn't like the lumpy bits.
den: (puggle)
1- Fips is rapidly approaching 700g. I am adding ICBINT to his milk so he gets used to chewing lumpy bits. Over the next week I'll reduce the milk and increase the meat. Right now he's eating 100g+ every feed.
2- His spines are long and very sharp.
3- When he doesn't want to be picked up, he curls up to present his spines and pushes forward. Tonight he caught my hand between the hard plastic wall of his cage and his spines.
4- Very sharp.
5- One pin-prick on the palm bleeds a little bit.
6- 20 pin-pricks on the palm produce a surprising amount of blood. It is also itchy and painfull all at once.
den: (puggle)
I haven't done one for a while, so:

den: (puggle)
Photos to celebrate Fips reaching 500 grams in weight.


Four photos )
den: (puggle)
This afternoon I took the swift and Fips out to the zoovets for a checkup. I intended to go this morning but the vet nurse told me they were "knocking out alpacas." I had to assume they were rendering the animals unconscious and not making cheap-and-nasty copies in bulk.

Bad news: The swift did have a fractured wing and had to be euthanased.

The good news: Fips is in very good health, being well muscled and not too fat. (Yay me! Pats on the back.) Tim The Vet said I should start introducing ICBINTermites into the milk mix. Then he took a photo

Read more... )
The vet staff fell in love with Fips, taking it turns to hold him and say "Awww, he's licking my hand!"

I asked about Matilda and was taken out to the Veterinary Quarrentine Centre. Chris the vet nurse opened a locked door, took me through the magnetically sealed air lock, across the squishy fllor that oozed disinfectent, through three gates that would stop a charging buffalo, and probably had, then through a sliding plate steel door and into an outdoor cage. I felt like I was in the openening sequence to "Get Smart." I asked about the need for this much security with a baby wombat, and Chris said it was the only good wombat-proof cage they had. It just happened to be in the VQC. Matilda came out of her hutch (a well-chewed cat box) and ran up to us. I took a bunch of photos of her being cute, then gave her a really good scratch on the bum. Matilda bit my jeans but didn't take out a chunk; instead she shivered happily. Then suddenly she'd Had Enough and went back into her hutch.

Chris lead me back through the VQC, I prised Fips from the vet staff who wanted to hug hum and keep him, and headed home. I still don't know if Fips is male or female. Tim says the gonades haven't developed enough to be able to tell.

Echidnas are weird, I tells ya.
den: (puggle)
Almost at 400g! I'll have to defrost some I Can't Believe It's Not Termites soon and add it to Fips' milk.

den: (puggle)
Creeping towards 300g in weight.



Fips looks like a mini adult now, all spikey and black, but he still wobbles around like a puggle. He uses his front feet a lot more, pawing and scratching at his milk and my hands. It's cute but when he gets a bit stronger it will stop being cute and start being painful as he shreds skin and dislocates fingers. "Awww" will become "Oww!" But for now it's cute.

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