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Tile strangest animal in the world, as Douglas English calls it, is the npiny proechidna, or spined porcupine ant-catcr of New Guinea. They have one in the Zoological Garden at Amsterdam, anrl two of a slightly different species in London. Mr English describes them as follows in the ' i-jphcrc': "Picture a war elephant of old casod in stout padded leather trappings, armed, head to tail with vicious spikes; conceive it as no bigger than a dog, conceive, it as too lazy to stand cp, andi you have the proedndna of New <luinea. They have something in common with mammals, something in common with reptiles, something in, common with hirde. They lay eggs, leather-shelled, like tortoise eggs. So do their Australian cousins, the echidnas. Mid their other relative, tho duck-billed platypus. They hatch thpir eggs in pouches. They have, when born, a single short-lived tooth, which serves to break the eggshell. But this is quickly . cast, and their food—ants, worms, and insects—it would seem, is caugtit and ground and masticated by their tongue. This is flexible and sticky, and setj with tiny bom points like a rasp. At times they fast for weeks, and talcs no harm. They are neither cold-blooded lika reptiles nor warm-blooded like ourselves. Their body heat, somd lOdeg lower than our own, varies to tome extent with their surroundings. These qualities and others ' anatomical tend now toward tha reptile, now toward the bird. Their habits are the habits more of mammals. Th*y aro nocturnal mysteries. They burrow ij} aoft • soil, sinking straight downward from tha . flat rather than tunnelling forward, yet somehow boring subterranean runs, in which perhaps they feel food with their ; beaks, for they are weak in sight and i scent alike."

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Bibliographic details

LAZIEST ANIMAL IN THE WORLD., Evening Star, Issue 15683, 23 December 1914

Word Count

LAZIEST ANIMAL IN THE WORLD. Evening Star, Issue 15683, 23 December 1914