Stop! (squeal of brakes). There's an echidna!
By Judy Evans
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
• 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,
• 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.