News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

March 23, 2019


Oldest Animal at Brookfield Zoo Turns 50!


Brookfield, Ill. – Today, March 23, animal care staff and guests celebrated a milestone birthday for Brookfield Zoo’s oldest animal. Adelaide, a short-beaked echidna, turned 50 years old. In honor of her birthday, Adelaide was presented with a nutritious birthday cake topped with one of her favorite food items—wax worms. Afterwards, guests and staff sang “Happy Birthday to You.”

Short-beaked echidnas are native to Australia and central and south New Guinea. They are one of only two mammals to lay eggs. Their backs are covered with stout spines among a fur coat of varying color from light brown to black. They have a short, stubby tail. The hollow spines that cover most of their body are yellowish at the base and black at the tip and measure about 2 inches long. The underbelly lacks spines but is covered with fur and thick bristles. They have a long, tubular snout. Since they do not have teeth, they use their long, sticky tongue to gather food. There are two sets of hardened, keratinous spines (one set on the roof of the mouth and one at the base of the tongue) for grinding insect exoskeletons into a paste. Their feet have five flat claws that are adapted for digging, though their hind feet are used primarily for grooming.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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