19
Dec
18

Monotreme extraordinaire

There are two types of egg laying mammals in the world; Platypuses and Echidnas. There are four species of Echidna but it is the Short beaked Echidna that lives over much of Australia. It is without doubt an extraordinary animal. It has a pouch but is not a marsupial. It feeds its young on milk but has no nipples and of course it lays eggs and is covered in course hair and spines.

We saw this one along with several others on Raymond Island in Gippsland during our trip there in November.

I envisaged them being nocturnal for some reason but they in fact only became active when the sun warmed the ground and their prey became active. Although they were very approachable they were as difficult as hell to photograph; their snouts were invariably under the ground licking up ants and termites. Their small eyes were nearly always hidden. However this individual put his head in the air to catch a scent and his eye caught the sun for a moment enabling me to get his best side.

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