Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday - echidna

I've always been fascinated by Echidnas. I can't decide if it's the spikes, the squat body or the beaky nose that intrigues me the most.

Anyway, a while back, on a walk down to the beach, this echidna was poking around right next to the track, and then hid beside this tree when I heard him rustling and stopped to look. You can't tell in the photo but his feet are slowly shifting sand beneath him so he can burrow in and be protected - nifty huh?

Then a few days later, just down the road and round the corner from my house, I saw one in the trees around the school. He was strolling along minding his own business - but of course I didn't have a camera with me. Who expects to find an echidna across the street!?

The Australian museum website gives this information about it's life cycle.

Like the Platypus, the Short-beaked Echidna is an egg-laying mammal or monotreme and lays one egg at a time. The eggs hatch after about 10 days and the young, emerge blind and hairless. Clinging to hairs inside the mother's pouch, the young echidna suckles for two or three months. Once it develops spines and becomes too prickly, the mother removes it from her pouch and builds a burrow for it. It continues to suckle for the next six months.

Cats, dogs, foxes and goannas can eat the young. Cars are also added to the list for killing echidnas.

I've seen an echidna in every farm house I've lived in. They seemed to either roam through the yard or camp out for a few days. My dogs were never fond of their visits, but I always thought they were magical.


  1. Echidnas are the coolest. I never used to worry much about the US distinction of porcupine vs the Aussie echidnas, but now I make a point of making sure my kids call 'spiky' animals like 'echidnas' and not prickly like porcupines... if you know what I mean.

    1. Yes, I know what you mean and I think it's great that you're teaching your kids proper Aussieisms.

      Yeah Lily!

      Cate xox