Stop! (squeal of brakes). There's an echidna!

@JudyEv (118683)
Bunbury, Australia
August 17, 2016 7:11pm CST
I was thrilled to see three echidnas during our two-weeks away. They are not often seen in the open and seeing three was a rare treat. Echidnas and platypuses (or perhaps that should be platypi) are monotremes and native to Australia. Echidnas are also called spiny anteaters as they are covered in sharp quills. The spines are creamy-coloured and there is fur between the spines. When threatened they roll into a ball. Monotremes have a single hole for both reproduction and excretion. Echidnas are about 53cm long and can weigh up to six kilos. The snout is bare and stiff but contains sensors that detect vibrations. At 7 to 8mm long it is great for breaking up termite nests. Surprising as it may seem, they are quite good swimmers. There is a short-beaked and long-beaked variety. The photo shows a short-beaked echidna. The photo was taken in Tasmania. I have chosen a photo from Wikimedia (Attribution: I, KeresH) as it shows the whole animal much better than our photo. Our echidna was a bit camera-shy and persisted in hiding under a bush. Vince didn't feel like man-handling him/her out into the open – and I didn't feel like woman-handling her/him either. The legs extend outwards from the body. Echidnas lay eggs. These are carried in a pouch which only develops during the breeding season. The tiny baby is carried in the pouch for about three months. When the spines become uncomfortable for the mother the baby will suckle from outside the pouch. So how does an echidna have sex? Very carefully I would think!
17 people like this
18 responses
@jaboUK (53408)
• United Kingdom
18 Aug 16
This is really interesting - I'd vaguely heard of them but didn't know what they were. They act a bit like hedghogs by rolling into a ball when threatened, but they are a lot bigger. Do you get hedgehogs in Australia?
4 people like this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
I guess they are our equivalent of the hedgehog. We don't get hedgehogs here. I always think they look lovely little creatures. We did see one in a garden in Germany.
2 people like this
@jaboUK (53408)
• United Kingdom
18 Aug 16
@JudyEv Hedgehogs are the gardeners' friend as they eat the slugs and snails. I keep a bit of rough ground so that they have some cover if they should visit me. I set a trap for squirrels in the garden once as they were being a nuisance (I release them a couple of miles away) and unfortunately I caught a hedghog. He seemed none the worse for the experience though,
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
@jaboUK I know they are mostly welcomed in English gardens. Ours are only found in the bush.
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@akalinus (14612)
• United States
18 Aug 16
I have never actually seen an echidna or a platypus. I would love to to see them in person someday.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
I have seen a platypus in a zoo. I would never expect to see one in the wild as they are quite rare and only seen in certain parts and not at all in the West.
1 person likes this
@akalinus (14612)
• United States
18 Aug 16
@JudyEv I have seen armadillos and porcupines but don't remember ever seeing an echidna. Is it a marsupial?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
@akalinus I don't think they are a true marsupial as they lay eggs. However they do develop a pouch.
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@Lucky15 (33429)
• Philippines
18 Aug 16
Can not think of how they do it either ma'am. :))
2 people like this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
It looks fraught with difficulty doesn't it? :)
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@Lucky15 (33429)
• Philippines
18 Aug 16
@JudyEv i am like...thinking and laughing. Lol
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@sueznewz2 (9705)
• Alicante, Spain
21 Aug 16
I was going to ask the same as janet @jaboUK I have my answer... I'm glad you were able to see these rare little creatures.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
21 Aug 16
And for every one we saw there were probably a heap more we didn't so it is good to know they are still around.
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@Inlemay (16484)
• South Africa
18 Aug 16
ha ha ha - very carefully indeed - Youc an be glad they weren't crossing the road - tortoises cause us great anguish on the roads trying to avoid them . . . In SA the rule of the road is NEVER swerve for an animal - must be the most broken rule ever. We all swerve and save.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
We're not supposed to swerve either but it is very hard not to. It is almost an instinctive action.
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (16484)
• South Africa
18 Aug 16
@JudyEv ah ha so you are also traffic rule breakers - ha ha ha
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
@Inlemay I consider myself a law-abiding person but if I think a rule is stupid I have no trouble breaking it - so maybe I'm not so law-abiding after all.
1 person likes this
@sallypup (26319)
• Moses Lake, Washington
19 Aug 16
Fascinating.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Aug 16
Sometimes I'm amazed by what I don't know!
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@sallypup (26319)
• Moses Lake, Washington
19 Aug 16
@JudyEv I love it when people from other places tell me specifics about their world.
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (47790)
• Centralia, Missouri
18 Aug 16
I was going to say how cute, then I got to the last sentence and choked on my tea..... shame!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Aug 16
I don't think I've caused anyone to choke on their tea before! Sorry about that.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
20 Aug 16
@JudyEv lol there are a few on here who do that all the time, -cough-abby-cough I dont read her with a mouthful of anything anymore
@SIMPLYD (78119)
• Philippines
18 Aug 16
It looks like a hedgehog although a hedgehog don't have a beak like that .
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
It certainly reminds one of a hedgehog.
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (78119)
• Philippines
18 Aug 16
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Aug 16
what a rare treat to've seen 3! i don't blame either one'f ya, i'd not wished to try to convince one'f those to come out 'n pose neither, lol. most fascinatin' creatures!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
We knew they were in the area so I had my beady eyes peeled just in case.
1 person likes this
@akalinus (14612)
• United States
18 Aug 16
Maybe there was an echidna convention or reunion in town.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (52192)
• Los Angeles, California
18 Aug 16
That is one funky looking creature. Only down under. Looks sorta like a porcupine but rolls like an armadillo.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
When the platypus was first discovered and drawings sent to England, all the scientists thought it was a joke.
1 person likes this
@akalinus (14612)
• United States
18 Aug 16
@JudyEv It looks like a joke. It is like parts of animals stuck together, an animal Frankenstein's monster.
@UncleJoe (9467)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
19 Aug 16
I wonder if the males get together and lie about their beaks too.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
19 Aug 16
Quite possibly.
1 person likes this
@marlina (71284)
• Canada
18 Aug 16
The mating part must be painful!
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@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
Yes, I would think so!
• Eugene, Oregon
18 Aug 16
I have never seen or heard of this little animal. Very carefully would be a necessity.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
I thought more people would know of it but it seems not.
@salonga (27998)
• Philippines
18 Aug 16
Honestly, I have just learned about echidna, I have only seen in photo once and this is the one in your photo.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
It is hard to get a good photo of them as they often hide from people or roll up.
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@teamfreak16 (40502)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
18 Aug 16
And now my curiosity is satisfied. I know what one is now.
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@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
Prehistoric looking, don't you think?
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@Platespinner (16533)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
18 Aug 16
Interesting critters indeed! Your last sentence made me giggle!
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@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
I always ponder on these sorts of questions which often go unanswered in all the books. Another one is how do they cope with sewage in Coober Pedy where everyone lives below ground. :)
@TRBRocks420 (73728)
• Banks, Oregon
18 Aug 16
I wonder are they the same as what we call a porcupine here? My uncles dog once got a bunch of quills in his beak.
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@JudyEv (118683)
• Bunbury, Australia
18 Aug 16
They are possibly a bit similar but not really the same. I'm not sure if their quills come out or not.
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@akalinus (14612)
• United States
18 Aug 16
Mating trains! Who knew echidna life was so complicated?