Echidna is the animal of Australia: description, habitat and interesting facts


The echidna (animal), whose habitat is spread only on Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, can live in captivity. It adapts well to any environment, so today it can be found not only in the original environment, but throughout the world.


Animal echidna, whose photos are presented, has a length of about 40 centimeters. Her back is covered with wool and needles. The head is relatively small immediately goes into the torso. The mouth is presented in the form of a tubular beak, in a small opening of which there is a long sticky tongue. The beak is the main body for orienteering, since vision is very poorly developed.

The animal moves on four short five-fingered paws, which are distinguished by their muscularity. On the fingers are long claws, and on the hind paw grows a five-centimeter claw, with which the individual combs its needles. Also covered with needles and a short tail.

The echidna (animal), the description of which is presented, is a squat, prickly small mammal, it digs the ground very deftly and has a long tubular beak.

Way of life

In the subtropical zone (Australia), echidnas behave more actively on summer nights. In the afternoon, during the hottest hours, they are placed in the shade and have a rest. With the onset of darkness, the animals feel the coolness and come out of their shelters.

In cold areas of the mainland, frost is possible. In this case, echidnas slow down their livelihoods before the onset of heat. Animals do not belong to species that hibernate. But in the winter for some time they can still fall asleep.

They lead, as a rule, night or twilight lifestyle. During the day they hide in cool places. Natural coverings in the soil, hollows of trees, bushes can be such shelters.

Echidna is an animal that has fantastic dexterity. This helps him dig the ground and get his food.

The main food for the animal are ants. With the help of their beak, the echidnas skillfully dig the earth and extract insects from their termitaries and anthills.

When an animal finds an anthill, immediately begins to dig it with sharp claws. Work does not stop until a deep tunnel penetrates until the destruction of the solid outer layer of the structure.

In the tunnel made echidna (animal) shoves a long tongue, which puts a lot of biting ants. It remains only to quickly return the tongue to the mouth with food. In addition to ants, the ground, sand, and the bark of trees enter the digestive system.

Such nutrition is very important for a mammal that lives in arid zones. With ants echidna receives 70% moisture. In the same way, anteaters and armadillos survive.

If there is enough food in the mammal's habitat, they do not change it. If necessary, they can go a few kilometers.


In ordinary life, an echidna is a solitary animal. Communication with other individuals occurs only in the mating season. In order to find each other, they use special paths that are labeled with a specific smell.

The behavior during the mating period is not fully understood. It is only known that after fertilization, the female produces an egg no more than 15 millimeters in diameter. She then puts it in her bag with the tail and peritoneum. Scientists are not aware of the cases of laying two or more eggs, but to talk about the rule of one egg is also impossible.

Echidna - marsupial animal. A female's bag is not considered a permanent body, like that of a kangaroo. It appears as a result of the tension of certain muscles. Moreover, if you give the female a sedative, this organ will disappear in a matter of minutes.

From the egg in the bag there is a cub, the size of 12 millimeters. It is not adapted for independent living: it is covered with primary skin, it is blind, it feeds on mother's milk. In the bag he lives until he begins to weigh about 400 grams.

Then the female hides her cub in a hole or in a bush. One day she visits him for feeding. This age is considered the most dangerous for the animal, since it is still defenseless.

Feeding method for baby echidnas

While in the bag, the cub does not leave it until the mother decides to pull it out. It feeds on its milk, which has a pinkish color and a very thick consistency. This is similar to the nutritional mix of rabbits and dolphins.

Milk enters the bag through numerous holes from special glands. Kid licks it. The nutritional quality of the mixture allows you to not adhere to strict feeding schedule. This is important when the mother pulls the cub out of the bag and hides it in shelter.

Ways to protect

The main means of protection are a shield with needles and claws. The animal has no natural enemies known to scientists. But there are cases when dingo dogs attacked the echidn and ate them along with a shield of needles. One day a dead python was discovered with a strangled animal in it.

With the sensation of danger, the echidna (the cautious animal) very quickly starts digging the earth around itself and hides in a hole in minutes, leaving only its needles in sight. Being on a hard surface, it rolls up into a ball, hiding the face and beak. The last remedy is the fetid liquid released in case of a serious danger to the one who decided to disturb him.

What does an animal echidna look like?

The echidna has an unusually elongated muzzle, strong short legs with curved long claws, with which it quickly digs out the ground.

Strange, but it has no teeth, but there is a strongly modified beak. Instead of teeth, the echidna has sharp small horn needles. And her unusual tongue is very long and sticky. With his help, the viper easily catches insects.

The body of the animal is flat, its length is more than 60 centimeters, the skin is covered with short, hard spines, resembling those of a porcupine and a hedgehog.

Australian animal

Echidna Australian was described for the first time in 1792 by George Shaw (English zoologist), who later described the platypus.

A scientist mistakenly ranked this strange animal found on an anthill, to animals called anteaters. Later (after 10 years), Edward Home (anatomical scientist) discovered a common feature in the platypus and echidna, the cloaca, into which the ureters, intestines and genital tracts open. In connection with this, a detachment of single pass was allocated.

Echidna Australian smaller prochidny. Its length is usually from 30 to 45 centimeters, and the weight is 2.5-5 kg. The Tasmanian subspecies is slightly larger, it reaches 53 centimeters.

The head of the animal is covered with coarse thick hair, the short neck is almost invisible. The muzzle is elongated into a narrow, slightly curved or straight "beak" (75 millimeters).

The limbs, like all echidnians, are shortened. Powerful flat claws are equipped with paws capable of digging the ground and breaking the walls of termite mounds.

Features of the Australian Echidna

Continent Australia is quite far from other continents, therefore, the animals living on it, have passed their evolutionary path. Prohidna modern is the most famous surviving member of the genus. Australian echidna lives almost throughout the continent.

Animals of Australia are diverse and numerous. Echidna among them is a unique creature. In these places, it has the following parameters: a hairless, pointed nose with well-developed nostrils and a small mouth opening at the very tip.

Spines grow from thick wool. They cover the entire back and sides of the echidna.

Each paw has 5 strong claws, which are perfectly adapted for digging. The 2nd toe of the hind paws ends with a curved long claw, which the animal uses for carding the skin.

Echidna digs the ground in search of food (ants and termites). She collects insects with her unusually long and sticky tongue.

It should be noted that in Australia, human activities have contributed to a significant reduction in the number of these amazing animals in recent years.

Australian Echidna Habitat

From the very name of the animal you can understand where this type of echidna lives.

In addition to Australia, the echidna is found in New Guinea, on Tasmania, as well as on the small islands of the Bass Strait. Australian echidnas are able to inhabit almost every corner of the mainland. Place of residence does not depend on the landscape. Their home can be both arid areas and wet forests, as plains and mountains.

Interesting Facts

There are some interesting facts about the echidna:

  • Echidna is an animal that at the moment of danger collapses into a ball, like a hedgehog, and at the same time it tries to cover its most vulnerable position on the body - the abdomen.
  • Tasmanian echidnas have not very thick short spines, so they do not need their combing claws so much.
  • Echidnas belong to a small group of long-lived mammals living up to 50 years, which is not typical for such a small animal.
  • Like the platypus, this animal is a mammal laying eggs.
  • The echidnas, like the birds, have one hole for feces and laying eggs. The female puts her egg in the bag, which disappears after reproduction and is formed during the new clutch. Over time, the echidna demolishes only one egg.
  • In females, echidnal milk flows through the pores into the pouch at the front of the bag, and from there the calf licks it off.

They feed on echidnas with termites, ants, earthworms and other insects, catching them from their shelters with their long tongue, which can produce 100 movements per minute.

The Australian marsupial echidna is an animal that sometimes eats small animals and insects. It is a carnivorous mammal, but the size of its prey depends on the size of the mouth. Another feature is that the upper jaw of the echidna is connected to the lower jaw, and therefore the mouth opening in it is small. A tongue can extend up to 18 centimeters.

The echidna draws bugs stuck to the tongue into the mouth. Usually for food, the viper goes at dusk. In the heat, she goes hunting only at night. Extraction is sought through its beautiful sense of smell. Capable echidna while digging in search of food to turn the stones twice as heavy as her own weight.


Echidna - an animal, the size of the area of ​​residence which depends on the amount of food on it. In forest wet areas, where, as a rule, there is a lot of prey, the area per animal is about 50 hectares. In the afternoon, the echidna usually rests, hiding under stones, tree roots and hollows. At night, the search for insects begins, and the echidna leaves the shelter at a certain temperature. In hot weather, it comes out only at night, because it is terrible to tolerate excess heat and sunlight. In bright sunlight, the animal may even die. Outside the shelter, it can only be in cold weather.

The echidna has not very many enemies. The main danger for her is only to meet a person who hunts her for fat.

Echidna at danger is capable of surprisingly quickly burrowing into the ground, and if the soil turns out to be hard, it curls up into a ball. In winter, the echidna usually hibernates.

Echidn eyesight is weak, but their hearing is wonderful. In this case, at the time of nightly raids for food, they mainly rely on their excellent sense of smell.

Why is the echidna so called?

Australia - the mainland, rich in various outlandish animals - sheltered under its sky and small, outwardly very reminiscent of a porcupine, living being - echidna. This completely innocuous animal, eating exclusively small worms, insects, ants and termites, for some reason has a rather frightening name: the image of an ancient Greek monster immediately pops up in my memory - half-half-half-snake, which causes real horror to all those who at least with one eye bother to look at it . However, as scientists have found out, an almost harmless Australian animal is in no way connected with a creepy mythical creature, but is related exclusively to hedgehogs: this is what the word conformable to the name of echidna translates from Greek.

How does it look

At first glance, the viper resembles a hedgehog or a small porcupine, as its body is covered with needles. But there are no kinship between these animals. Dimensions echidna do not exceed 30 cm, and weight - from 2.5 to 4 kg. The small head of the echidna is covered with thick short hair, the neck is almost invisible. A funny muzzle is strongly extended and resembles a proboscis, which is called a beak. At its end is a small oral opening, it opens no more than 5 mm. In the beak of the echidna there are special cells - electroreceptors. Thanks to them, it catches the slightest fluctuations of electric fields arising during movement. This is one of the main landmarks of the animal. The echidna has very strong paws, and it can quickly burrow into the ground, fleeing from the enemy.

In ancient Greek mythology, a half-woman of half an enormous size, an evil creature, was called a catty.

The habitat of the Australian echidna is Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania Island, and a number of islands in the Bass Strait. Almost all of the natural areas of Australia - from deserts to tropical forests - are suitable for the existence of echidna.

The marsupial echidna is an Australian animal that is covered with prickles, like a porcupine, but according to its type of feeding, it rather resembles an anteater. Echidnas and platypuses are the only mammals that lay their eggs.

Squad - Monotremes

Family - Echidnae

Rod / Species - Takyglossus aculeatus

Basic data:

Body length: 35-50 cm

Tail length: up to 10 cm

Spines Length: 6 cm

Weight: 2.5-6 kg, males are a quarter heavier than females.

Puberty: from 1 year.

Marriage period: from June.

Progeny development: hatching from the egg after 10 days, leaves the bag in 6-8 weeks.

Number of cubs: 1.

Habits: singly, animals are active at dawn and dusk.

Food: ants, termites and other terrestrial insects

Lifespan: up to 50 years.

The only relative is Prohid (Zaglossus bruijni), who lives in New Guinea.

The Australian echidna eats termites and ants. It most often inhabits grassy and wooded areas with loose enough soil to
danger could quickly dig up a protective groove.

The Australian marsupial echidna feeds on various types of termites and ants. Only occasionally, to diversify her diet, she eats other insects and small animals. Echidna is a carnivorous animal, but the amount of prey is limited by the size of its mouth. Its peculiarity is that the upper jaw of the echidna is connected to the lower jaw. So the mouth opening of the echidna is very small and opens exclusively at the end of a long, pointed little face. Therefore, the animal catches prey with a long wormlike tongue with a sticky surface. She can push him 18 cm.

The insects stick to the tongue and the echidna draws them into the mouth. The echidna has no teeth, so the animal chops the food with horn teeth covering the tongue and palate. With the help of tongue echidna also swallows pebbles and earth, which contribute to the grinding of feed in the stomach. Echidna is sent for feeding usually early in the morning and at dusk. If unbearable heat reigns, the echidna leaves the shelter only at night. Echidna finds its prey with the help of a beautiful sense of smell. She sniffs the forest floor and heaps of leaves, from where she digs out termites and ants. While digging, the echidna turns over stones that are twice as heavy as her. She rests her paws on the ground and shrugs off the stones.


The size of the plot, which is necessary for life, depends on the amount of food on it. In humid forest areas, where there is usually a lot of production, the territory is approximately 50 hectares per animal, and some areas may partially overlap. In the afternoon, the Australian echidna rests hiding under the roots of trees, stones or in hollows. At night, she goes in search of insects. The Australian echidna leaves its refuge only at a certain temperature. In a very hot season, she leaves the shelter only at night. Echidna very badly tolerates heat and excess solar heat. If the animal does not hide in time from the sun's rays, then it can lead to its death. In cold weather, the viper may remain outside the shelter all day. This animal has few enemies: the danger to the echidna is only meeting with a man who hunts her for the sake of fat.

When the echidna is frightened by something, she buries herself surprisingly quickly into the loose earth. If the earth is solid, the echidna is rolled into a ball like a hedgehog. In the cold season, the Australian echidna falls into a brief hibernation.


Australian echidnas breed in July and August when winter reigns in the southern hemisphere. Only at this time of the year are animals kept in pairs. A female ready for mating leaves on the ground an odorous trace, on which the male finds it. Having found such a trail, the male goes on it in search of a female. Often 3-5 males follow one female. About two weeks after mating, the female lays 1 egg the size of a hazelnut. It is still unclear how the egg gets into the bag to the viper. Было доказано, что она не может сделать это с помощью лап, поэтому думают, что ехидна, согнувшись, откладывает его прямо в сумку.

Через 7-10 дней из яйца вылупляется детёныш длиной 12 мм. Он засовывает голову в мешочек, куда открываются молочные железы, и слизывает молоко.


  • In case of danger, the Australian echidna rolls up into a ball, as the hedgehog known to us does.
  • Tasmanian echidnas dwelling on Tasmania have short spines and they are not so densely arranged, therefore they do not need strongly developed combing claws.
  • Echidnas, like people, belong to a small group of long-lived mammals that can live for more than 50 years. Such a long lifespan is very atypical for such a small animal.
  • The platypus and echidna living in Australia are the only mammals that lay their eggs.
  • In females echidn there are no classic exits of the mammary glands - nipples. Milk flows through the pores into a hair-covered pouch on the front side of the bag, from where the baby licks it.
  • Males echidn on the heels of their hind legs have a special growth - a horn spur into which the venom gland opens. However, this gland does not perform any function, that is, it does not produce poison.


Nose: pointed, hairless, with well developed nostrils and a small oral opening at the end.

Spines: grow out of thick wool, covering the back and sides of the Australian echidna.

All four legs have 5 strong claws, adapted for digging.

The second finger on the hind legs ends with a long curved claw, which serves echidne for carding the skin.

Echidna digs the earth in search of termites and ants. Insects she collects sticky tongue.

- Area of ​​the Australian echidna


Australian echidna lives in the arid regions of Australia and Tasmania.


The Australian echidna has few natural enemies - it threatens only that the indigenous people of Australia consider its fat a delicacy. Echidnas do not cause any harm and do not have great economic value, so they are not massively hunted.

Description of the viper

There are 3 genera in the family of the viper, one of which (Megalibgwilia) is considered extinct.. There is also the genus Zaglossus, where prochid are found, as well as the genus Tachyglossus (Echidna), consisting of a single species, the Australian echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). The last was opened to the world by a zoologist from the UK, George Shaw, who described this egg-laying mammal in 1792.

Types of Mocking

If we talk about the Australian echidna, it should be called its five subspecies, which differ in their habitats:

  • Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus - Tasmania and several islands of the Bass Strait,
  • Tachyglossus aculeatus multiaculeatus - Kangaroo Island,
  • Tachyglossus aculeatus aculeatus - New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria,
  • Tachyglossus aculeatus acanthion - Western Australia and the Northern Territory,
  • Tachyglossus aculeatus lawesii - New Guinea and part of the forests of northeast Queensland.

It is interesting! Australian Echidna adorns several series of Australian postage stamps. In addition, the animal is depicted on a coin of 5 Australian cents.


Under natural conditions, this egg-laying mammal lives no more than 13–17 years, which is regarded as a fairly high figure. Nevertheless, in captivity, the life of the echidna is almost tripled - there were precedents when animals in zoos lived to 45 years.


Nowadays, the range of the family Echidnovas covers the entire Australian continent, the islands in the Bass Strait and New Guinea. Any place where there is an abundant forage base, be it a rainforest or a bush (more rarely - desert) is suitable for housing to a viper.

Echidna feels protected under the cover of plants and leaves, therefore, it prefers places with dense vegetation. The animal can be found on agricultural land, in urban areas and even in mountainous areas, where it sometimes snows.

Diet of echidna

In search of food, the animal does not get tired to agitate the anthills and termitaries, to rip the bark from the collapsed trunks, explore the forest floor and turn over the stones. The standard menu echidna includes:

The tiny hole at the tip of the beak opens only 5 mm, but the beak itself performs a very important function - it picks up weak electric field signals coming from insects.

It is interesting! Only two mammals, the platypus and the echidna, have such an electrolocation device equipped with a mechanical and electrical receptor.

The tongue of the echidna is remarkable, having a speed of up to 100 movements per minute and covered with a sticky substance to which ants and termites stick. For a sharp ejection, circular muscles meet (when they contract, they change the shape of the tongue and guide it forward) and a pair of muscles located under the root of the tongue and lower jaw. Rapid blood flow makes the tongue harder. Retraction imposed on 2 longitudinal muscles.

The role of missing teeth is performed by keratin teeth, rubbing the prey on the ridge palate. The process continues in the stomach, where food is ground by sand and pebbles, which echidna swallows in advance.

Natural enemies

The echidna swims well, but doesn’t run very briskly, and is saved from danger by a dull defense. If the ground is soft, the animal digs deep, rolling into a ball and aiming at the enemy with disheveled prickles.

It is almost impossible to get the echidna out of the hole - resisting, it spreads the needles and rests against its paws. Opposition is significantly weakened in open areas and solid ground: experienced predators are trying to open the ball, aiming towards the open belly.

In the list of natural enemies of the viper are:

People do not hunt for echidna, as it has tasteless meat and fur that is completely useless for furriers.

Population and species status

The number of echidnas is almost not affected by land development and their clearing for agricultural crops. Highways and the fragmentation of the area caused by the destruction of the habitat habitat are of great danger Introduced animals and even the Spirometra erinaceieuropaei worm, also imported from Europe and carrying a seemingly deadly threat, are reducing the population.

They try to breed animals in captivity, but so far these attempts have been effective only in five zoos, and even then not one of the pups has lived to mature age. Currently, the Australian echidna is not considered endangered - it can often be found in the forests of Australia and Tasmania.