I feel fortunate to have seen this Echidna. I knew about these animals but I did not expect to see one while I was in Australia. When we saw this one, I couldn’t believe that I actually was able to see an Echidna in the wild.

A lot of the wildlife in Australia are different than the rest of the world but Echidnas are just weird. They have spines like a porcupine, a pouch like a kangaroo and lay eggs like a reptile and they are also known as a spiny anteaters because their diet consist of ants and termites.

If you think that is odd then some of the other facts about Echidnas will really make you think that these animals are from another planet. Check this out:

1. Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of any mammal at 89 F and it can fluctuate by 6 to 8 degrees.

2. When a female is ready to mate, males will dig a trench in the ground around the female. The males compete for mating honors by pushing each other out of the trench. The last remaining male gets to mate with the female.

3. Echidnas are one of only 3 mammals that lay eggs. A female echidna lays a single egg about the size of a dime in her pouch. Ten days later, the baby hatches.

4. Like all mammals, echidnas feed their young milk but they don’t have nipples. Instead, they have special glands in their pouches called milk patches that secrete milk that the baby laps up.

5. Echidnas don’t have teeth. At the end of their slender snouts, they have a tiny mouth and toothless jaws. They feed by rapidly darting their 6” sticky tongue in and out of its mouth to slurp up insects. They crush their food with hard pads located on the roof of their mouth and the back of their tongue.

I was really happy that I was able to encounter an unusual animal like the Echidna and I was also happy that I was able to get a few decent photos of the one that I saw. The Echidna is not uncommon but it is unusual to see them in the wild. Additionally, when you do see one, they don’t stand still and let you take your pictures. They don’t move fast but they are constantly moving which makes it difficult to get a good picture. When they do stop moving they will curl up in a defensive position and hide their face.

About Echidnas

Location: In Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea

Diet: Echidnas eat ants, termites, worms and insect larvae.

Length: 12 to 18 inches

Weight: 4 to 15 pounds

Lifespan: up to 45 years