Echidnas are small mammals that are covered with coarse hair and spines, superficially they resemble both the anteaters of South America and other spiny mammals like hedgehogs and porcupines. Their elongated slender snouts function as both mouth and nose. They have very short, strong limbs with large claws and are powerful diggers. Echidnas have a tiny mouth and a toothless jaw. They feed by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like, and using their long, sticky tongue which protrudes from their snout to collect their prey. The short-beaked echidna, also called the spiny anteater, (Tachyglossus aculeatus) has a diet that consists largely of ants and termites. The long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus sp.) typically eats worms and insect larvae.
Short-beaked echidnas live throughout Australia, Tasmania, and the lowlands of New Guinea. Long-beaked echidnas live only in the New Guinea Highlands, confined to alpine meadows up to 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) above sea level, and to the humid mountain forests of the New Guinea highlands.
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