I couldn’t begin to total up the total number of months we’ve spent nor the number of miles we’ve driven in Australia. We’ve seen countless kangaroos, koalas, wombats, platypuses (platypi?), emus, dingos, camels, eagles, and crocs. But we’ve only seen one echidna in the wild.
We were barreling down a narrow country road in Shark’s Bay, Western Australia when we saw it slowly waddling across the road in the distance. We pulled over and jumped out to take a closer look, but he had other ideas. He curled up into a spiked ball about the size of a small pineapple and pretended we weren’t there.
We thought we could out-wait the stubborn little bugger, but he had other ideas. We stood at the edge of the road eyeballing him until we finally realized that we had to be somewhere to be but he didn’t. We’ve always wondered how long he remained curled up after we left. Did he eventually open one eye, see that we had finally driven away, and utter a relieved, “Whew! I thought they’d never leave” before resuming his trek across the outback?
But we didn’t even know echidnas lived in the Barossa Valley until we ran across this sign on a backroad near our cottage.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that non-Australians may have no idea what an echidna looks like nor how truly odd they are. It’s one of only two mammals (the other being the platypus) that lays eggs. Here’s a photo. It’s a cute little devil, isn’t it?