Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Subclass: Prototheria Order: Monotremata Family: Tachyglossidae Genus: Tachyglossus Species: T. aculeatus
The spines of the short-beaked enchidna - also called the spiny anteater - are longer than the fur between them. Active both day and night, this echidna is solitary and can become torpid in the very cold or hot weather, when its temperature falls from the normal 88 - 92°F (31 - 33°C) to as low as 39°F (4°C). It eats a variety of ants, termites, grubs, and worms. These are detected by smell and perhaps by sensors on the long snout that detect electric signals. The small head joins the shoulders with no external neck.
Location: Australia (including Tasmania), New Guinea Length: 12 - 18 in (30 - 45 cm) Tail: 3/8 in (1cm) Weight: 5 ½ - 15 lb (2.5 - 7 kg) Social Unit: Individual Conservation Status: Lower risk
Australia’s most widespread native mammal, the echidna is a monotreme, an egg-layer. It is found in an amazingly wide variety of habitats, from above the snow line to deserts, anywhere there are ants or termites for food.
This individual photographed outside Omeo, Victoria.