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Short-beaked echidna

One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

Read more about Short-beaked echidna

Found throughout Australia and New Guinea, the short-beaked echidna, along with the platypus, are the only 2 egg-laying mammals (‘monotremes’) in the world. This stocky mammal has sharp spines, called quills, which cover its back and moult every year. The only other species of spiny anteater is the long-beaked echidna, found in the highlands of New Guinea.

With a distinctive tube-like snout and sticky tongue, the echidna is expert at breaking apart termite mounds in search of ants. Active from dawn to dusk, short-beaked echnidnas forage for food up to 18 hours a day. In winter, echidnas can become inactive and, at higher altitudes such as alpine zones, are known to hibernate for up to 28 weeks.

Animal facts

Common name
Short-beaked echidna
Scientific name
Tachyglossus aculeatus
Conservation status in NSW
Protected

Parks in which this animal is found

Front Beach, Arakoon National Park. Photo: B Webster/NSW Government