Short-beaked Echidna

The Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is a common sight around The Cape including observations within the housing areas and streets. They are more likely seen from Spring – Autumn and tend to hibernate during the winter months. Their habitat is primarily in the thick coastal bush but they are often seen emerging into the open grassy spaces beside the coastal reserve.

They are inquisitive creatures who will wander through home gardens, but once alarmed, they tend to dig into the ground in an attempt to hide and protect themselves. If you stand back quietly, they will re-emerge and go about their business again, which is primarily seeking out ants, termites and other small invertebrates by using a probing, long sticky tongue.

Females lay eggs and feed their young on milk. They create a temporary false pouch after mating where they store their egg. The egg hatches after about 10 days and the baby ‘puggle’ stays in the pouch for 8-10 weeks.

I have never seen one, but keep a look out for an ‘echidna train’ during the spring mating season where a group of males line up nose to tail and follow a female around.

Nature Observations around The Cape

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