Location: Karatta, Australia
Address: Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Coast Road
Date: May 2012
Most people are aware that Australia is home to some of the most unusual and unique animals on the planet. When we visited Kangaroo Island we had a private encounter with a monotreme. We had come to the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to see their resident koalas, but as we drove up their driveway we noticed a little brown creature shuffling across the field. We parked the car and headed across the field for a closer look.
To our delight it was an echidna digging in the grass. In Greek mythology, Echidna was half woman and half snake. Echidnas are mammals yet they lay eggs like a reptile so this name is fitting. The proper word for an egg laying mammal is montreme. There are only 2 montremes, the echidna and the platypus. There are four types of echidna, but our encounter was with a short beaked echidna.
The echidna continued to go about its business and paid us no mind. The echidna is similar to an anteater because it digs in the ground and sticks its beak into the hole and then uses its tongue to slurp up ants and other insects.
The echidna also has spines covering its back much like a porcupine. If threatened it will curl up into a ball like a hedgehog to protect itself. We don't believe these spines are designed to stick into an attacker like a porcupine's quills but we think it would still be a mistake to mess with them.
We observed the echidna while it enjoyed its lunch. It is yet another Australian creature that seems to be made up of several different animals. While Australia is home to some of the deadliest animals on earth, it also has many, like our little spiny friend, that are some of the cutest. Speaking of cute Australian animals, we had to get going as there were trees full of koalas waiting for us on the other side of the sanctuary.
Map of Our World
Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (Short Beaked Echidna)
Post # 118