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Short-beaked Echidna

Tachyglossus aculeatus


This echidna came foraging near our campsite at Nuga Nuga National Park. It pretended to be asleep when we got up close to it to take a picture. Echidnas are about the size of a soccer ball. They are seriously cool (and bizarre) animals... - They are one of only two monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world (the other is the platypus); - The toes on their back feet point backwards to help them effectively burrow into the ground (it is almost impossible to dislodge an echidna that is 'burrowed in'); - The earliest fossils of the short-beaked echidna date back around 15 million years ago and are almost identical to contemporary echidnas; - Male echidnas have a four-headed penis (yes, really - - During mating season, up to 10 males will follow one female around for up to four weeks, forming 'echidna trains'; - Baby echidnas are called 'puggles' - here are some pics and videos of one being cared for at Taronga Zoo last year (prepare for the cuteness!!!): This is just a taste of the weirdness... check out the referenced links to learn more! : )

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ShannaB 10 years ago

Hi isabella1! No, the echidna didn't hurt us. They are very sweet and gentle animals. They look scary with all those spines, but they use the spines for defence - if something attacks them they curl into a ball which makes it really hard for predators to eat them.

LeanneGardner 10 years ago


ShannaB 10 years ago

Hahaha, I don't like comparing echidnas to soccer balls but the size is about right and I can't think of something better!! I love them too. : )

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 10 years ago

Soccer ball !!?? Anyone who kicks one will get what they deserve. :-) I love finding these in the wild.

Spotted by

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Sep 21, 2013
Submitted on Sep 30, 2013

Spotted for Mission

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