Baby echidna held in hands

All photos: Paul Fahy/Taronga Zoo

After a bulldozer accidentally dug up its burrow in Coonamble, Australia, in December, this adorable baby echidna (also known as a "puggle") was rushed to the wildlife hospital at Taronga Zoo with a deep wound across the side of its body.

The little nugget, who was believed to be about 2 months old at the time, is recovering wonderfully thanks to careful hand-rearing, a regimen of antibiotics and a special temperature-controlled artificial burrow.

Baby echidna belly

According to Samantha Elton — the keeper who has been serving as the spiny critter's primary caretaker and surrogate mother — the little puggle "is still quite small for its age, but it has almost doubled in size since February and the wound has healed perfectly."

The puggle is still too young to discern its gender, but Elton has taken to calling the it "Newman" after the infamous Seinfeld character with similarly beady eyes.

Baby echidna feeding

One interesting fact about echidnas that you may not know is that they don't have teats like other mammals. Instead, the mother's abdomen is equipped with special patches that excrete milk, which is lapped up by the babies. This is why Newman feeds straight from Elton's hand instead of from a nippled bottle.

"The feeding process was very stop-start at first, but now the puggle is like a little Hoover. It will drink constantly for about 40 minutes, only stopping to blow milk out its nose," said Elton.

Baby echidna with tongue out

Newman still has some growing to do, but once he mature enough, he will eventually join the rest of Taronga's thriving echidna population:

Continue below for more squee-worthy photos of Newman!

Baby echidna inspecting
Baby echidna walking around
Baby echidna snuggled up in a towel
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.