“Echidnas Keep Cool in the Heat with Snot Bubbles and Belly Flops!”

1: zoologist christine cooper and her team have discovered that echidnas, one of the rarest species in the world, have an interesting way of dealing with the heat in australia. infrared cameras have revealed that the echidnas blow bubbles of mucus out their noses to cool down. they also shed heat by pressing their bellies and legs – which are spineless – to cooler surfaces.

2: this research was conducted in australia, the native home of echidnas. it was previously believed that the echidnas blew bubbles of mucus out their noses to clear dirt and dust from their nasal passages, but thermal imaging captured by cooper and her team indicates otherwise.

3: the mucus bubbles burst and wet the tip of the echidna’s snout, allowing evaporation to cool blood just under the skin. the cooler blood then circulates through their body, helping keep the animal’s temperature down. understanding how echidnas tolerate heat is essential for conservation on a warming planet, as they are one of only two types of monotreme – mammals that lay eggs.


By Evey Lovelace

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