Echidna We Did Spy!

Echidna on the move

Echidna…beach…What a day! You never know what you’ll see when you go on an adventure with your children…and this was just the beginning.

My children absolutely love to swim and thanks to their lessons I don’t worry too much about them around water now other than a bit of general supervising. Earlier this year on one of our drives around the local area we can across the most gorgeous little beach tucked away from civilisation. It was a hardly a secret with quite a few other families having flocked their with small children and it was no surprise really.

Walking down to the beach it was clear, the water shallow and clear, and plenty to see. We didn’t stay long that first day but vowed to return again and that day was Friday. With the weather predicted to be climbing into the 30s we were a bit better prepared this time than previously.

What surprised me most today was the weather. When we left Mount Gambier the sun was out and it was quite warm. When we arrived at Port Macdonnell this is the view we had of the ocean…

Beach at Port Macdonnell

I had purchased a little tent from Kmart for $12 with the hopes of providing me with a bit of shelter as well as creating a base camp of sorts on the beach where we could leave a few things. I’m happy to say the tent was fairly easy to put up – the occasional rod separated as I was threading them through but once up and pegged it provided a decent sized shelter for myself and kids to store things and to sit and have something to eat. The other purpose was to have a potty there as well as there are no toilets anywhere in the area – of course after carrying it there neither of the kids needed to use it in the 4 or so hours we were there – both waiting until we returned to Port Macdonnell to use the loo (which I’m quite proud of!).

Tent on the beach

One of the big things when we go on a drive somewhere is to learn to appreciate the environment and it’s animals – it’s as much about learning as it is about fun. Today the kids and I were in for a very big list of surprises! The first appeared in the carpark.

Echidna (c) Jennifer Ward, 2018

I had returned to the car to grab an extra towel when I saw a lovely American couple looking under my car. When I asked why they said they’d found a porcupine…okay, I had to correct them there (teacher me!) and hurried back to get the kids (who were being supervised by their uncle) to come and look at the echidna.

The echidna is a special mammal being one of only two monotremes (they lay eggs) and are quite the elusive creature. I’ve only seen one or two before and even then at quite a distance so I was thrilled to get a front row seat looking at this little fellow while he had his fill of ants.

My kids were a little worried about this fellow as he had ants climbing over him – not surprisingly since he had his beak down an ant’s nest.

They both noticed his spikes and knew that we don’t touch but since he was less than half a metre away it didn’t bother the kids that they had to look and not touch – they’re quite used to that. I was also proud of the fact that they were quiet and didn’t scare him intentionally – they got a bit excited to begin with and squealed causing the echidna to ball up but he soon when on his way again. At point point the kids were a little worried it might walk off the cliff which I assured them it wouldn’t.

This little guy though was to be the first of a collection of animals we saw.
Read more in the next post…
but in the meantime check out these fiction and non-fiction books about echidnas.

EchidnasEchidna and the shade tree Spiky Echidna

What do you think?