I mentioned yesterday that I planned to learn something new (or many things) this year.  Well, my lesson started on Sunday morning when an echidna strolled into my garden and wanted to stay. What do you do with an echidna in your garden when the Parks and Wildlife rangers won't come and rescue it from suburbia. 

For those not familiar with the echidna - they look a bit like a hedgehog just bigger  - covered in course hair and nasty spines - a mammal that lays eggs (monotremes*) and can live for over 40 years.  When scared they roll into a ball, covering their head. They are native of Australia and can be found across the continent from the tropics to the mountains.  Echidnas eat ants and termites and use their sticky tongue to catch them. According to one website they are "not very bright".
The first problem with our echidna - it wouldn't stand still.  It enjoyed eating some ants (must have been breakfast time) then it thought it would have a wander and hid in the pond (below) where it rested for 10 minutes. It was hiding because the humans were being too noisy and trying to catch it!
After its rest the echidna climbed out of the pond (don't worry it was almost empty of water) and had a look around. During this time the humans (which now included the neighbour) were enjoying a nice cup of tea and some gingerbread!
Humans get bore so quickly these days and when they had finished their tea they wandered off to do other things - during this time the echidna had decided to check out the garage.  It was at this stage that DH had a bright idea, why not catch the echidna ourselves (DH whilst I looked on) and take it out of suburbia to safety where it won't get hit by cars or attacked by cats or dogs.
This was a great plan but how do we catch it - a old blanket and a thick towel plus lots of patience as the echidna wasn't in any hurry.  I have no photos of the catch as the clicking of the camera scared the echidna too much plus I was too busy grabbing a box whilst DH tossed (as quickly as possible) the echidna into it. He didn't want any of those spines in his hands.
I grabbed my keys and we jumped in the car and drove to a nature reserve 5 mins from our home. The following photos are of DH trying to release the echidna from the box - unfortunately the echidna wanted to get out the end that was taped up - quick thinking wife suggested using the car keys to cut through the tape and let the echidna out of the bottom of the box.

Free at last

Humans go home knowing the echidna is safely out of suburbia - away from cars.

And now I know a little more about the echidna, lesson 1 complete!!!

* There are only 2 monotremes in the world and Australia has both - the echidna and the platypus - mammals that lay eggs.



  1. Absolutely positively priceless! This is the most precious story. That little fella is adorable. You have earned your boy scout award. Bravo for saving that little creature!

  2. Wow, what fun! I don't know if I have seen an echidna that close! My favourite Aussie animal is the platypus...

  3. How delightful! I have only ever seen 1 in the wild in 31 years. Great pictures! xxx

  4. Wow, that is amazing! Echidnas are so cute!! I'd love to have one in my yard!! I've seen at least 2-3 in the wild in my life. Dolly thinks the echidna is cute too :)

  5. Sarah, this is the second one I have seen in the wild (if you could call my garden wild) in my lifetime. I think they avoid people as we are too noisy and scary.

    Nice to meet you Mre Adept

  6. Yes, we get them here too & they're not real bright.

  7. What an exciting adventure!
    We patted an echidna once in a zoo. They told us to pat along the spines and it wasn't so bad. Like weird finger nails.
    How lucky are you?

  8. Hiya Jo!

    I have been absent for a while now (from blogging in general) but so enjoyed my visit to your lovely and interesting blog!

    I love animals, so I enjoyed this post SO much! My husband has seen an echidna or 2 in the last month also but sadly it looked to have been hit by a car. I am glad you and DH were able to safely relocate this little guy. The gloves were essential no doubt lol!

    I pray you have a wonderful 2011 Jo and I look forward to reading your blog during 2011.

    Are back at work or still on holidays? Whichever the case, I hope it is going well for you :)

  9. Jo,

    I'm sure you were quite surprised to have a "little visitor" in your backyard the other day, eh? :0

    At any rate, I have never heard of an Echidna until today, so I suppose that I learned something new as well. :)

    I must add though that your husband is a very brave man to catch an animal with that many spikes upon its body. I think that I would be quite nervous about catching something like this.


    -Lady Rose

  10. Hi Amanda - good to hear from you again. Yes, I am currently on holidays - but all good things come to an end and I return to work on Monday 10th. I am currently enjoying every minute of the days I have left.

  11. I was in Holbrook probably mid last year and one lives in the park. I assume it stays away from the shops and highway over the road.


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