Short Beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
Short-Beaked Echidnas are covered with long, brown-black and golden spines. Under the spines, the echidna's body is covered with fur. Its long, tubular and toothless snout is naked. The 18cm tongue is long and sticky and perfect for foraging for their favourite food... Termites! The Echidna digs its way into ant or termite nests with its front paws and extends its long, sticky tongue into the nest. The insects stick to the tongue and are drawn into the mouth where they are crushed up and swallowed.
Echidnas are one of the only two Australian Mammals that lay eggs. The baby hatches after 10 days and is carried around by the mother for three months in a pouch like skin fold, until it starts to form its spines. The baby is called a "puggle".
There are no significant predators of adult echidnas, but dingos, foxes and wild dogs will occasionally eat them. The spiny coat provides an excellent defence as when disturbed, the echidna curls into a spinky ball. When attacked, it may dig very quickly and bury itself in the soil.
You may see Echidnas on the side of the roads all over Australia. They are 30 - 45 cms long and can weigh up to 7kgs.