Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Short-Beaked Echidna

We went for a walk today in Redwood Park, a near vertical-seeming park at the crest of the Toowoomba Range. While there we happened upon an echidna out for a forage.

From Animal Fact Guide:
[T]he echidna employs several tactics for defense. On hard surfaces, they may run away or curl into a ball exposing only the spines. In other cases, they may dig into the soil or wedge themselves into a crevice or log, again only exposing the spines.
Thus, shortly after I spied this creature near the path and I took his picture with a 24 mm lens (the image above is excessively cropped). He waddled into the weeds and went into a defensive posture.

He showed no interest in me being there and never moved even though I got within about 4 feet. I switched to the 200-500mm and got a clear shot of him (her?) huddled in the grass.

According to the Animal Fact Guide, there are short hairs for insulation and the spines. The spines are make of keratin, just like our fingernails.