Short-beaked Echidna – Species Spotlight

Short Beaked Echidna: Tachyglossus aculeatus


Short-beaked echidnas are found across the Australian mainland and in Tasmania. They are the only member of the genus Tachyglossus. There are 3 other species of echidna, which belong to the genus Zaglossus, which are long beaked echidnas found in New Guinea.

Short-beaked echidnas are approximately 30-45cm in length and can weigh between 2 and 7kg. the echidnas are covered in spines which are used defensively, as they will spike-up and burrow/wedge themselves so that only the spiky side of their body is facing a predator (who will usually be deterred by the spikes).

Echidnas eat ants and termites. Their large claws (relative to their body size) are used to claw into an insect nest as eat the insects with their long, sticky tongues. They are typically active in the dusk and nocturnal hours, although they can be seen wandering around on overcast days as well.

The echidna is a monotreme, which is a mammal that lays eggs. There are only 2 known groups of monotremes in the world: echidnas (4 species) and platypuses.

This short-beaked echidna is not listed as threatened.


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