Feeding ecology and diet

Whereas short-beaked echidnas feed on all types of invertebrate species found in the soil or rotting wood; long-beaked echidnas feed primarily on earthworms. The tongue of the long-beaked echidna is grooved and has three rows of backward directed keratinous spines at the tip, that help extract worms from the ground. The tongue of the short-beaked echidna is lubricated with a sticky secretion, extends up to 7 in (18 cm) beyond the tip of the beak, and has an agile tip for drawing insects into the mouth. Echidnas have no teeth, but grind their food between a set of tiny keratinized spines located on the base of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Echidnas find their prey using acute senses of smell and hearing. They also sense vibrations with their beak.

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