Living in Australia, the small, spiny echidna has to know how to beat the heat. But echidnas don’t sweat like humans or pant like many other mammals do to cool down.
Because of this, how the animals regulate their body temperature was a mystery to scientists. Recently, a graduate student at Curtin University, in Perth, Australia, found a clue. She noticed that at high temperatures, echidnas did something “really pretty weird,” says Philip Withers, an animal physiologist who worked with the student. “They would blow bubbles out of their nose.”
The team filmed the animals with a thermal camera that translates temperature to color. They saw that the nose was always the coolest part of the animal’s body. The snot bubbles were releasing body heat!