07/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated 6 days ago

Weird, Spiky Animal Blows Mucus Bubble (PHOTO)

Today, the New York Times has my favorite description of an animal ever -- thank you, Natalie Angier, for this:

He had seen them once or twice in captivity and in photographs -- plump, terrier-size creatures abristle with so many competing notes of crane, mole, pig, turtle, tribble, Babar and boot scrubber that if they didn't exist, nobody would think to Photoshop them.

The story refers specifically to the long-beaked echidna, but I couldn't resist posting this photo of a similar-looking short-beaked echidna blowing a mucus bubble through its nose:

Sydney, AUSTRALIA: 'Cess', a short-beaked Echidna blows a mucus bubble through his nose (below) as he recovers at Taronga Zoo's wildlife clinic in Sydney, 25 July 2006, from injuries received during a road accident. Cess was found with a broken foot and severe cuts to its nose following the accident and has had his back legs bandaged but not plastered as this would restrict his digging ability. Although short-beaked Echidnas are common throughout Australia and have no natural predators they continue to suffer due to habitat loss, with vehicle collisions and domestic pet attacks causing many casualties. AFP PHOTO/Greg WOOD