When walking in the bush around the Co-op, you sometimes hear the tell-tale rustling and scrabbling that alerts you to an Echidna nearby. If you come across it suddenly it will do what all Echidna’s do and take the “How not to be seen” position!
The Echidna uses its large claws to anchor itself to the ground when danger is detected, and danger is anything that moves. It will hunker down, sometimes in a convenient hole, or even the stump of a tree, so that all you see are its “spikes” – which are actually modified hairs made of keratin, the same fibrous protein that makes up fur, claws and nails. It's an effective defence mechanism.
As Echidna’s are extremely short-sighted, if you stay very still and don’t move it will eventually emerge and continue its search for ants, an Echidna's picnic of choice.
On one such recent encounter an Echidna decided that my feet must be investigated.
It was rather disappointed not to find anything edible, and then waddled off in search of lunch.
It was a strange feeling, having an Echidna snout poking at my feet, but another wonderful experience on my walk in the woods.
Karyn Kamminga, Co-op Member.
This is the second in a series on living with wildlife.