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.