Echidna – a one of a kind animal of Australia

Echidna – a one of a kind animal of Australia

Australia has two species of monotremes (egg laying mammals) the platypus and echidna. There are no other species like them.

It is unusual to see an echidna in the daytime because by habit they are active at night.

On the move
On the move
Echidna active at night
Echidna active at night

Echidnas are 30 -45 cm in size and weigh 2 to 7 kilograms.

The spines are coarse and used to protect the echidna. The male has a spurs but no venom. Echidna are very powerful diggers and will dig into the ground or wedge into a hollow when threatened. So I think you can see now why I call the Echidna a one of a kind of animal.

Several males will follow one female this is called a ‘train’. The female echidna lays one egg which she then incubates in her pouch for 10 days. The young suckle from a teat in her pouch. The echidna has a burrow and when the young are too big for the pouch they will live in the burrow and continue to suckle until they reach 12 weeks of age. Echidna are one the most unusual and wonderful animals of Australia.

Post and Photos by Amanda Jackson

Tachyglossus aculeatus
Tachyglossus aculeatus

14 thoughts on “Echidna – a one of a kind animal of Australia

  1. Hi Kerriet, your webpage is well set out and awesome colours. I lived in Serpentine, Western Australia for a short while, up in the hills. One afternoon when coming home, it must have been around 4.30 to 5.00 pm I seen something cross the road, I wasn’t sure what it was but when I got closer I seen that it was an Echidna, it was so cool, I was so excited as it is not something that you see much of. All the best, Kerry

    1. Hi Kerry

      Thanks for your message and story. It is a thrill isn’t it to see our amazing wildlife surviving and hopefully more of them thriving. Our big excitment at the moment is that a family of Kookaburra have decided to call our place home. They are upsetting the local Maggies though 🙂

      Cheers

      Kerrie

  2. Posted on Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  3. Echidna looks like a hedgehog to me. Are there any differences? It’s awesome there are so many wild exotic animals in Australia. I don’t wanna sound ignorant but are these animals very common in Australia like you can spot them easily while you are driving? Either way Australia seems like a wonderful country to visit!

    1. Hi Joon, the Echidna is not that common. But they can be seen if you out of town a bit where I live. I have a very lucky neighbor who has a family of Echidna’s that live near them and they see them every summer.

      If you ever get the chance to visit Austrralia let us know!

    2. I agree. It’s much better if we can make anmial cruelty to become a “taboo”, much like bullying or even murder. Raising the penalty is a resort to reflect that this is unacceptable rather than as a deterrant – as we discussed earlier those who do it do not feel they have the danger of being caught….Connie

  4. I’ve never head of an Echidna before! Thank you for sharing this with me I love animals and Australia. I thought that platypuses were the only mammals that can lay eggs, to my surprise that’s not true. Your article was very informative with learning more about these creatures. As soon as I learned about them from your website I needed to know more and you gave more thank you for that I hope to read about more animals from Australia thank you very much.

    1. Hi Mark

      Thank you – I really enjoy hearing from people who love animals.

      We are very lucky in Australia in so many ways but especially with out wildlife I think.

      Cheers mate

  5. Ok, I’ve been hooked on this show “72 Dangerous Animals of Australia” It’s on Netflix. So I was doing some simple research and ran across your article. I had no idea that the Echidna even existed. I knew about the platypus and how it was the only egg laying mammal.. I guess I was wrong and there’s this guy also. Great information. Thanks for the read! Learned a ton.

    1. Hi John

      Glad I could surprise you with some new information considering you sound like a great fan of Aussie Animals.

      I don’t have Netflix but that show sounds pretty good, something my son would love….

      Also I am stoked you found our website and my article.

      Amanda

  6. The Echidna looks very similar to a hedgehog in my country (England) in the UK.

    Echidna’s certainly do sound like big animals, and you have just taught me some new knowledge on these creatures 😀

    Is this your most favorite Australian animal, or do you have a different one?

    Neil

    1. Hi Neil

      Kerrie here, I am Amanda’s sister

      I love the Echidna and did the painting you see here on our post (The painting was for my little Nephew last year)

      It is rather fascinating that each continent has an animal that has spines or tough quills as its main form of protection, like your hedgehogs in England.

      These are all ancient mammals also.

      Thanks Mate – we really appreciate your comment.

      Kerrie

  7. Hey,
    The Echidna looks amazing. I never saw one outside of a zoo when I was in Australia.
    Would really love to see one.
    Are they an endangered species?

    Was it hard to find them to make the pictures or do you see them often?

    Looking forward to hearing about other amazing animals.

    Moritz

    1. Hi Moritz

      Great to hear from you!

      The short beaked Echidna of mainland Australia is not considered endangered but it is always at risk with animals such as dogs.

      I was very lucky to see these ones I think and in their natural habitat. They are not commonly found that’s for sure!

      I look forward to hearing from you again

      Cheers

      Amanda

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