Species: Tachyglossus aculeatus
Common names: Echidna
I suspect that this very prickly little animal is rather more common than our sightings would suggest. They occasionally visit our garden at night and I have seen them on a couple of occasions in the bushland. They are solitary animals and roam over a large area in search of ants and termites. Echidnas, and the platypus, are the world’s only egg-laying mammals, and are known as monotremes. Spring is the mating season and after mating the female deposits an egg in her backward facing pouch. The egg hatches after about 10 days and the baby echidna, known as a puggle, feeds on milk exuded from a patch in her pouch. After about 6 to 8 weeks the puggle develops its sharp spines and must leave the pouch. It stays in a hole in the ground where it is milk fed by its mother till it is about 7 months old.
Yen Kheng found this echidna foraging beside the southern walking track and kindly provided the photo.
One night, a few weeks ago, Hazel and I received a visit from one of the Reserve’s inhabitants. We found this echidna (below) scuffling around, half buried in the leaves in our garden. Echidna’s preferred diet is termites so I hope that isn’t what attracted this guy to our garden. When we checked in the morning the echidna had vanished.