A few weeks ago I was alone on a short bushwalk near where I live and I spotted something moving on the track ahead of me.
I’d seen an Echidna at the same spot a few years ago with my son, and he’d been startled by us and hid himself in an earth bank, but we were able to tip-toe up to him and touch his spiky back. It was cool.
This time, though was to turn out to be be even cooler.
What a cheeky dude!
Echidnas are monotremes, that means they are one of only two mammals which lay eggs (the other is the Platypus).
They might look scary, but are very shy and even touching their spikes does not hurt, unless you poke your snout into them like a Dingo.
I once watched two Dingoes try to eat an Echidna, but it rolled into a ball and just sat there while they tried to roll it over to get to its soft belly. After twenty minutes they gave up and walked away because the spikes made it painful to approach with their snouts. Needless to say, the Echidna survived and just dawdled off after a while.
See the link here for more info about Echidnas.
Here’s a nice article and soundbyte describing the task of keeping track of platypus numbers in the streams of Victoria.
The closest I’ve ever come to seeing a platypus in the wild was viewing the remains of his dinner – the scattered remains of a yabbie on some rocks in a creek, torn apart as we would tear a lobster to get to its meat.
Here’s a pic of a yabbie, for those of you who were wondering .
If you’ve read this far, you might enjoy this tune: the Perry the Platypus Theme:
” He’s a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action…”
Riding home from our Sunday cafe ride, we spotted an Echidna crossing the road.
Since my photo isn’t very good, here is a better one from another site, for reference.
For those of you who don’t know much about Echidnas, they are monotremes, which means they and the Platypus are the only mammals in the world which lay eggs.
When you approach them, they huddle into a tight ball so you can’t get at their fleshy belly.
I once witnessed two foxes trying to tilt and roll an Echidna over so they could make a meal of him, but they kept pricking their noses on the Echidna’s hard spikes and soon gave up.
For more info, have a read of this NSW Government website link.