This year, the Australian ecosystem has been turned upside down by the devastating bushfires which have raged all over the country. Many already-endangered species have been affected by the disastrous conflagration, but now an unexpectedly positive story has emerged from the land down under involving a spiky little critter that people everywhere are falling in love with.
That's right, this week an obese echidna has gone viral on social media, and people are losing their minds over her gigantic size.
The images of the echidna in question, who has been dubbed 'Eleanor', first came to the attention of the general public when the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Hobart in Tasmania shared a picture of the chubby little animal to its official Facebook page.
The sanctuary captioned the post, which currently boasts over 4,000 likes, 4,000 comments, and 3,000 shares: "Quite possibly the fattest echidna we have ever seen!! 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?! (She is sedated in this photo by the way!) [sic]"The world's most famous echidna is Knuckles from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, who may be appearing in the upcoming live-action movie:
According to information from the San Diego Zoo: "An echidna’s typical day begins by finding something to eat. Like anteaters, the echidna has no teeth. So how does it eat? The echidna has a long, sticky tongue to catch and chew its food: ants, termites, or earthworms.
It adds: "Once the food is located, the echidna tears into the mound or nest with its large, sharp claws and then uses the 6-inch (15-centimeter) tongue to lap up the bugs or worms. Hard pads at the base of the tongue and on the roof of the mouth grind the food into a paste for swallowing."