Annabelle a Taronga Vet Nurse and surrogate Mum to ‘Beau’, has not seen a puggle at such a young age in over 15 years of caring for sick and injured wildlife at the Zoo. The rarity of seeing an Echidna at this age is due to the habit of the adult females which stash their young in a burrow from about 50 days old. The puggle remains in the burrow for some months, with the female going out to feed, returning every few days to feed it milk.
Both Echidna and Platypus feed their young in an unusual way. Instead of having teats like other mammals, they have milk patches which excrete milk for their young to lap up. This is why Annabelle has to feed Beau from the palm of her hand, so it can lap milk as it would do in the wild. Once feeding, Beau resembles a mini vacuum cleaner, going back and forth making sure every drop of milk is sucked up – contributing to its ever growing belly.
All we need for this simple kitchen science experiment is milk, vinegar and a strainer. You can make all kinds of shapes and designs using this “plastic-like” material. In fact, this is the stuff they used before plastic was around!
Instructions: Take 1 warm cup of milk and mix with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Basically, for every cup of milk you use, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and you can make a much larger batch. Mix it together and strain out the curds that form. Once you dry it you can mold it into any shape you desire, but let it dry for a couple days first!
This experiment was featured a few months ago in a video that had a variety of DIY science tricks. But it’s such a fun and easy activity to do that it bears repeating: Get some milk, dish soap, food coloring, a plate, and then wait for the oooos, aaahs and whoaaaas.