Echidna’s clever way to stay cool – Snot Bubbles

Exciting news about this remarkable monotreme mammal.

Echidnas use their own mucus to stay cool.

Echidnas cannot sweat, pant, or lick to keep their bodies cool. But they have an impressive tolerance to heat. Now, scientists have discovered how they do it.

Echidnas stay cool by blowing mucus bubbles through their snout. The bubbles burst over the tip of their beak and wet it. The tip functions as an evaporative window and as the moisture evaporates it cools their blood. How amazing is this!

Thermal imagining cameras have been used to capture this. Scientists have also found that they use other cooling techniques to beat the Australian heat. These findings will help us predict how they might respond to changes in climate. These ways to keep cool help echidnas to be active at higher temperatures.

“We also found their spines provide flexible insulation to retain body heat, and they can lose heat from the spineless areas on their underside and legs, meaning these areas work as thermal windows that allow heat exchange.”

“We also found their spines provide flexible insulation to retain body heat, and they can lose heat from the spineless areas on their underside and legs, meaning these areas work as thermal windows that allow heat exchange.”

You can watch a video here.

These findings have been published in Biology Letters, titled ‘Postural, pilo-erective and evaporative thermal windows of the short-beaked echidna’.

Link to the research paper written by Christine Elizabeth Cooper and Philip Carew Withers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: