Echidna

  Tachyglossus aculeatus

Tachyglossus aculeatus

The echidna has a long tubular snout, strong claws and reddish-brown to black fur. Protruding through the fur on the back are stout spines. Males have a venomous spur on each hind leg. The Tasmanian Echidna has more fur and fewer spines than the mainland form. Weight is around 4kg.

Breeding

Late winter to spring. A soft-shelled egg is laid. The young hatches after about 10 days and is weaned after 3 months. The female may occupy a burrow while suckling her young, although generally echidnas have no definite nest site.

Behaviour

Usually prefers to eat in the early morning and late afternoon, though in cooler months it can be active during the day. When disturbed it may curl into a ball, protected by its spines, or dig into the soil leaving only its spines exposed. Most often found in drier areas.

Diet

Ants, termites and other small invertebrates which it traps on its long tongue with sticky saliva.

Status

Wholly protected by law.