A baby echidna is making a tremendous recovery after being attacked by a group of chickens in a backyard near Newcastle earlier this month.
The four-month-old echidna, who has been nicknamed Bonsai, was taken to Taronga Zoo in Sydney with scratches over its belly and hind legs.
Annabelle Sehlmeirer, Taronga Wildlife Hospital supervisor and surrogate mum to the puggle, said Bonsai was dehydrated and abnormally small for his age when he arrived at the zoo.
Sehlmeirer said the baby, who is too young to determine whether it's male or female, was found wandering around on its own.
“We’re not sure if the baby was alone because its mother died or because it was accidentally dug out of its nursery burrow," Sehlmeirer said.
Anna Sehlmeirer has become surrogate mother to the baby echidna.
When a baby echidna is about 200 days old, the mother will feed it one last time and then leave it to fend for itself. Up until then, the mother will leave the puggle in a burrow and return every four to six days.
Sehlmeier is currently caring for Bonsai and feeding the baby from the palm of her hand, the baby only stopping to blow milk bubbles out of its nose.
“Normally a baby echidna would feed every three to five days when its mum returns to the burrow, but this little one wants to feed every day. I guess it’s making up for lost time,” Sehlmeirer said.
A Taronga Zoo spokesman told The Huffington Post Australia they were unsure if Bonsai would return to the wild.
"It will remain in the care of Annabelle until it is capable of looking after itself in the wild or it might stay at the zoo and become an ambassador at the education centre," he said.