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Echidna excitement

I wanted to say it amazes me how just writing about the things that impact my mental illness in an everyday way helps so much. I do not know if anyone else with CPTSD fixates on a thing, and it gets in to you, that you find it almost impossible to let it go. For me writing about my experience with benefits from the Government has let me let it go. Such a positive. It is all in hand I have an appointment with my social worker, and GP so all it under some control and I have asked for help. A massive thing for me. I feel good about it all and quite hopeful. Sigh.

Along with my writing I do find spending time at home and in my garden is the best thing for me. I am trying really hard to let go of all the mess, and delight in all the positives. I am doing well at this. Everything is on a list. Yet I can not have more that one list or I become overwhelmed.

This in itself is important. I have to have a list. It is on my fridge. I mean written on my fridge in a marker, a perfect white board. My psychologist has helped me note that when I am really overwhelmed I begin many many lists. So in simplifying only the major things, on one list. I will not forget any of them. There is no time line for completion and I do not get fixated, or overwhelmed. As my mantra these days is I am content with the discontent. Strange as it seems, but just saying this to myself is such a help.

As I wrote this I heard Busby barking in the paddock. I looked out and saw this,

At first I thought oh NO he has killed a small animal. Then as I moved down towards him I tell him to leave it, and then I see this. Yes in the second photo below the white on the echidnas back is where Busby has attempted to grab the echidna. Echidna 1 (thankfully ) Busby nil. It is so hard for Busby as he is a mixed breed dog. Staffie x,with ridgeback x with boxer. All breeds that make him protective and aware of things that do not live in our home. He was very gentle with foster kittens, and cats, along with other dogs and puppies I fostered. He was fine with some orphaned rabbit kittens, but not with those in their hutches..outside big ones. It is so hard with the genetics. He is improving as he comes away now.

Echidnas have no fixed address they are wanderers and will move around a pretty large area on the mainland in Southern Queensland the organisation Land For Wildlife says that a territory can be up to 50 Hectares/123.553acres though territories can cross.

They find each other using sense of smell.

Apparently our Tasmanian echidnas are bigger than mainland Australia Echidnas.

I have talked about how echidnas form a connection with a male, the following video shows you how Echidnas mate. It is a video from National Geographic, Youtube. https://youtu.be/frZGhk0i228

echidna train.

It is also delightful to actually see how these awesome animals get around. They are not slow moving all the time, and are great at climbing up and over things.

They weigh between 2 and 5 kgs/4.41lb- 11.02lbs. quite a range in size. They have lower body temperature than other mammals, 31-32dC / 87.8-89.6dF.

If disturbed, echidnas will usually lower the head, and with vigorous digging, sink rapidly into the ground leaving only the spines exposed. On hard surfaces they will curl into a ball — presenting defensive spines in every direction. They are also capable of wedging tightly into crevices or logs by extending their spines and limbs.

Echinda Hind Foot

The echidna is adapted for very rapid digging, having short limbs and powerful claws. The claws on the hind feet are elongated and curve backwards; to enable cleaning and grooming between the spines. However, despite this, they are infested with what is said to be the world’s largest flea — Bradiopsylla echidnae, which is about 4 mm long. (https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au).

Whilst both the male platypus and echidna both have spurs on their hind feet the echidnas is not functioning and is blunt unlike the platypus which has a sharp spur with functioning venom glands.

The diet of echidnas is largely made up of ants and termites, although, they will eat other invertebrates especially grubs, larvae and worms. The strong forepaws are used to open up the ant or termite nest and the echidna then probes the nest with its sensitive snout. Any insects in the nest are caught on the echidnas rapidly moving 15 cm tongue which is covered with a layer of sticky mucous, hence the name Tachyglossus meaning ‘fast tongue’. The jaws are narrow and have no teeth so food is crushed between hard pads which lie in the roof of the mouth and on the back of the tongue. Large grubs are squashed and the contents licked up. Echidnas eat a lot of soil and ant-nest material when feeding, and this makes up the bulk of droppings.

I do hope the echidna is eating all the jack jumper ants at my place. I have actually unearthed a few nests of ants in recent weeks, so kind of me to help them find food. In the process I have been bitten by two jack jumpers and they hurt so bad, and inflame and ache for days. One of the hidden joys of gardening. So I am very happy to have them about.

This is the echidna that was disturbed by Busby while crossing the paddock making its escape after I moved Busby away. Miss Treacle and I were able to watch it and I am so chuffed that i got its lovely face. You can also see how dry it has become here.

The echidna in Tasmania is common and widespread. They are less affected by the clearing of land as much as many other native animals as they can live anywhere that there is a supply of ants. Despite their covering of spines they do have natural predators such as eagles and Tasmanian devils which even eat the spines. They were a favourite food of Aboriginal people and early white settlers although they are now wholly protected by law.

blessings Tazzie

Its not just echidnas, what if

Bennets wallaby near my house (c)Echidna Home 2019

This little guy just looked so happy chewing away. It was almost as if it posed for me. It is a Pademelon (Paddy melon) They only grow to about 60cm and weigh about 5kg (enough of the lessons).

I am so privileged to have them visit my place. I used to get annoyed when they would pull the fruit tree branches down and nibble the leaves breaking them, but the trees grew taller, and they couldn’t reach any more.

Kookaburra in my garden (c) Echidna Home 2019

I know it seems a bit surreal to me too. I really live with these guys about too.

I also have Eastern Barred Bandicoots, Quolls, and Tasmanian Devils around. Much harder to obtain photos of these guys I keep trying.

This Echidna was moving along the roadside near my home. (c)Echidna Home 2019
shuffling about under the watttles, looking for food. (c)Echidna Home 2019

My favourite remains the Echidna.

The echidna on the right was across the road from my driveway. They can actually move surprisingly fast.








A shuffling snuffling echidna on the hunt for food crossing through my wattle grove.

Close up of the quills. (c)Echinda Home 2019

Easy access to the next paddock. Through the fence. I am sure it is because it has smelt me or heard me as I try to capture its photo. sigh. I never want to frighten it. I was using a telephoto lens, I reckon it heard me moving about. It decided that heading through the fence was its only option.

Through the fence (c)Echidna Home 2019
If you look you can just make out this guys foot, it looks strange as it faces backwards. (c)Echidna Home 2019
Hiding (c)Echidna Home 2019

As I have written before Echidnas are just amazing and unique mammals. I love th above photo as it shows how well their camouflage is. It looks like sunshine is hitting the grass but its the quills, and you can see its eye.

As I write this the horrific Mainland Bush Fires on the mainland of Australia and Kangaroo Island have cost so many Australian animals, insects bugs, it breaks my heart. I look at the wonderful wildlife that abounds my home and I cant imagine them all gone. The overwhelming knowledge that some may be gone forever. There are so many wonderful people who are out there working to find and help, the wild life carers, the firepeople and vets, farmers, those who are ensuring food and water are left and hoping to capture injured animals to help. The generosity of people all around the world, those that are making pouches and wraps..donated items food and are out gathering leaves and shoots for animals that have none in their locations. The baby wombats who have come out of burrows starving as mum has most likely been killed and not been back to the burrow. It is so so tragic. Of course my heart reaches out to all the people and communities impacted.

Tazzie

Echidnas and me

For any new people reading my blog, welcome. You may have worked out that I kind of love echidnas. I have posted two previous posts about these awesome animals. I am so privileged to have at least one that visits my home.

Whilst I was reading and compiling the information on the previous posts, I began to notice some interesting things about echidnas, and me. The me who has been diagnosed with complex PTSD.

listal.com

We are both happy being solitary. We can both be prickly and dig ourselves in for self preservation. We both enjoy digging in the soil, a lie in the sunshine and will spread out out to cool ourselves on the ground, we both like to swim.

They burrow in when unexpected visitors(dogs, dingos, eagles, humans, ) disturb them, and will only come out again after a resonable period cautiously to make sure the visitor has gone. Then go back to what they were doing. Me I hide behind the curtains and don’t answer the door! I wait to be sure the visitor has gone and return to what I was doing.

Australian Echidna Image @Oceanwideimages.com
Echidnas mating

They keep to themselves with the exception of mating…well no not like me I am not looking at a relationship at all. Being on my own is good. I have never had several males interested in me at any one time. I can totally understand why the female echidna prefers to be on her own. If only human babies could be looked after for a period of time and then be left somewhere and mum only has to pop back in once a day! (I know there is child care and boarding schools) I am not a mother. I do NOT dislike babies or children. This is a display of my humor!

We both prefer to hibernate during winter, but will move if we really have too.

Puggles are very cute and look cuddly but you cant cuddle them.

Puggle, (baby echidna)

In case you are concerned as we all should be not only for the loss of human life, homes and businesses, in the Australian fires so far this year, we should also think about the native animals and the rescue organsitations doing all they can to help those found injured and burnt. There is so much burnt land that the territory is not going to be able to support those that escaped and those that survive their burns and injury will be able to go back to.

This is a young Echidna who had buried itself in the ground, you can see how its spines are all one length where the fire moved over it, it has burns on its legs perhaps trying to escape it is being cared for at Wires.

Echidnas are perhaps a bit more able to survive, than say Wallabies and Kangaroos and especially Koalas. Echidnas will attempt to escape fires by going into torpor, echidnas reduce their metabolic rate and lower their body temperature. This, according to research published in April 2016, gives them an uncanny knack for surviving bushfires. … Echidnas often nest underground in burrows or inside fallen logs, which can protect them from the heat and smoke of the of the flames. In research conducted in 2013 researchers took advantage of a controlled burn being conducted by the authorities in woodland south-east of Perth in Western Australia. They identified 10 short-beaked echidnas living in and around the area that was due to be burned. They had tracked 10 echidna that were found with in the controlled burn area, fitted them with tiny GPS tracking devices and monitored them prior and for 31 days after the controlled burn. (source) http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160513-when-confronted-with-a-raging-wildfire-echidnas-go-to-sleep

However, while this chilled-out approach to wildfires may well give echidnas an edge, it does not work every time.

This #echidna caught our eye straight away, what an odd sight – what could have happened to its spines? But apparently the bushland around where it was seen had recently been controlled burned! EchidnaCSI @echidna_csi




During their study, Researcher’s team found three echidnas that had perished in the blaze. One was an animal they were tracking, which seems to have dropped into torpor inside a fallen log that caught fire.

Previous research has shown that echidnas can wake from torpor and move off at speed when threatened by smoke. In fact, another echidna resting in the same log woke up and fled – but its companion was not so lucky.

It is not just Bush Fires of controlled burns that impact Echidnas. Human day to day activity does. Echidnas being hit by cars and earth moving equipment digging up or flattening burrows, forestry, increasing populations moving into the bush as towns increase and tree changers move.

Catastrophic fires, the worst drought in history and record high temperatures are taking a tragic toll on native wildlife.

IF YOU DO COME ACROSS AN INJURED OR DEAD ECHIDNA (OR ANY NATIVE ANIMAL) CHECK ITS POUCH! If you can move the animal off the road, and if you cant remove the baby and its alive, contact your wild life rescue service.

Keep the animal warm: Keep the animal dark: Keep the animal quiet: Keep handling to a minimum: Do not provide food or drink.

Tazzie

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