Friday, 30 October 2015

A strange Australian

A the start of the week I posted an image of an a echidna - and a reasonable number of people seemed  not to know what it was.  I'll admit that it was a picture from behind, and that it is not in the running for any major (or minor)  photographic prizes, but I thought this strange, if iconic, beast would be a bit better known.

So, I have sorted through the archives to find some more images.  The Short-beaked Echidna is a monotreme, which means that it is an egg laying mammal.  The female lays a single egg from which hatches the young echidna hatches about 10 days later.  The youngster is then carried for about 50 days in the pouch.  It is only after the youngster - called a puggle - leaves the pouch that it starts to develop spines - which is probably a relief to the mother.  While in the pouch the young echidna suckles milk directly from 'milk patches' in the skin of the mother.

As an adult the echidna is a toothless specialist feeder on ants and termites.  One of its more well known adaptations is its defence behaviour, where it buries itself in the ground and presents whatever is traumatising it with dome of sharp spines.  Watching an echidna do this is rather amusing, as it seems that they just sink vertically into the ground.  Once they have adopted this position, they seem to have almost infinite patience to out-wait what ever disturbed them - including would be nature photographers!

I have posted some of these images before, hope nobody minds!






You can find more pictures of animals from around the world over at Saturday Critters.

25 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

funky little critter!

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I think folks got the idea of dreadlocks from these cute critters.

Margaret Adamson said...

Great shots of this animal and I have to say I did not know althat about it so thanks for sharing.

Breathtaking said...

A fabulous looking creature with a cute face.Puggle is a sweet name for the young
one.

Rhodesia said...

Love the photos. We did see some at one of the places we went to near Sydney but I had forgotten about them. Diane

Ranten said...

An incredible sweet animals!

Florida Farm Girl said...

What an odd looking little face. One of those things that look so strange they're downright cute.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I don't mind at all because they are so darn cute, but I have to brag on myself that I remembered it was an echidna from your previous posts. (Of course I can't remember the combination to our gated entryway because my head is so full of lovely information like the name of an animal I've never seen ... but don't tell anyone.)

Linda W. said...

What an interesting animal! I've never heard of them, so thank you for sharing the photos and information.

Marcia said...

Are they related to hedgehogs or porcupines? Interesting face on it.

DeniseinVA said...

I have seen pictures of them before and do recognize the species, but I would dearly love to see one in the wild. I wonder if our porcupines are in the same family. I will have to check that out. Great photos Stewart, ones I have not seen before so thank you for sharing them again. Also I enjoyed learning a little more of the Echidna, he is certainly a very interesting little animal.

genie said...

I am wondering if they are related to the porcupines and hedgehogs, too. They certainly have similarities. Love the name puggle and the idea that it is toothless. Thanks for all the information and the wonderful shots.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

An amazingly adapted animal... and a mammal that lays eggs? I think I need to go back and refresh on my biology! Great photos.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Naturally, I would want to touch and hold it.

Bethany Carson said...

Very interesting to learn more about this unusual creature! Thanks for sharing!

Lea said...

Very interesting!
Great photos!
Have a wonderful week-end!
Lea

Fun60 said...

You don't hear much about the echidna over here but I came across the book 'Toad Rage' by Morris Gleizman which was a great success with some of the young reluctant readers in my class especially the boys. Led to lots of discussions about Australian wildlife and the impact of non indigenous species. I never saw an echidna in the wild but made sure I saw one in Sydney Zoo so thanks for the photos.

diane b said...

Great shots of the elusive animal. Did you lie down on your tummy to get them?

Montanagirl said...

I have never seen, nor have I ever heard of this strange and wonderful creature! The world is just full of surprises, with something new to learn around every bend. Thank you for sharing this!!

ladyfi said...

Such a unique and adorable creature.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Awesome captures of a very fascinating critter!

Pat Tillett said...

Thank you for both the information and fantastic photos!

Beate said...

What a cute little animal. I've never seen it before either! Thank you so much for introducing us to it :)
I hope all is well!
Have a fabulous day.
Best wishes from Germany,
Beate

Marie C said...

I did know a little about this animal, but loved seeing all the images, and learning more through this post! Australia and New Zealand have such fascinating creatures!

Lee said...

I love echidnas....there is roaming around this property. I've not seen it yet, but my landlords have.

When I lived on Newry Island I came across one on a path one and I was so thrilled. :)