Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Close Encounters of the Echidna Kind

Koala in the gum tree near our back door
An abundance of wildlife surrounds us at home. At any time we may see koalas or kangaroos passing by or hanging around, and possums are constant nocturnal visitors.
Ring-tail possum on our verandah

Bird-life abounds also. Parrots, magpies, currawongs, finches, pardalotes, honeyeaters and tiny wrens are regulars in our garden, and high overhead huge wedge-tail eagles often pass through, soaring on the updrafts, along the western side of 'our' valley.

Delightful wildlife surprises await us each day, but none more delightful or unexpected than the spiky little character who decided to grace us with his/her presence for the first time last week, and then again yesterday - an echidna! I will call him Spike.


First Encounter

Mission accomplished
Upon returning home late last Tuesday afternoon, I was greeted by two excited grandchildren and one grinning husband, and was escorted into the garden. They pointed to a spiky ball, digging furiously in the soil. Spike the Echidna was valiantly digging to protect his soft underbelly by burying himself so that only his spikes showed,

Let me out of here!
They had first noticed the echidna waddling along our open verandah, and Martin rescued Spike just before he became entangled in some 'stuff' on the verandah.

Beren and Spike

The dig-in begins

Martin released Spike onto the grass, and he immediately took off at high speed, ending up underneath a shrub, where he began digging his way to safety.  He stayed there until later that evening, before moving on to hide-outs unknown.


Yesterday's Amazing Encounter

While out and about yesterday I received an SMS from Martin, telling me that Spike had reappeared on the verandah again. He (Martin) was in a hurry to answer the phone when he saw Spike, and then needed to get back to the shed quickly, so he raced out of the back door,  jumped over Spike and kept going, forgetting all about him.

I returned home later in the afternoon, and headed indoors with my purchases. On entering the kitchen I heard what sounded like the faint whining of a dog, but couldn't work out where it was coming from. The sound was fainter near the back door, but seemed clearer when I moved toward the kitchen bench. A small step ladder stands at the end of the bench, and I glanced down at it as I approached. To my utter surprise, there, on the floor and under the ladder, was Spike! He was vainly trying to dig himself into the bench, and was whining pitifully, poor darling!

Spike - underneath the step-ladder
I quickly called out to Martin (in the shed), who came to rescue Spike. We deduced that Spike must have wandered in through the back door which Martin had left open in his hurry to get to the shed.

You may notice that Spike looks rather cobwebby. I think he must have found his way underneath some cupboards during his indoor internment, thus exposing my poor under-cupboard housekeeping.
Leave me alone!

It's OK, little fella!

What an amazing little creature!

After taking these pictures, we took Spike out into the fading light of the early evening, and set him free underneath an inviting tree. He immediately began digging himself in, none the worse for his adventure. I'll keep you posted, should he return again!

Ah, freedom at last!
If you want to know more about these amazing Australian mammals, visit http://www.australian-wildlife.com/Echidna-information.html


  1. what a cute little fellow. He knows a kind home when he see's one. I bet the kids loved him.

  2. Oh what a little darling!How is Skike now?


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