the Echidna with a damaged beak (nose)
and Murray administering antibiotics
crate Snuffles was housed in during the first few days
was moved into a larger enclosure
collecting Echidna tucker - termites and nesting material
of Echidna goodies
into termite tucker
(look closely and you can see Snuffles tongue
slurping up the mixture)
is a messy eater!
nose healed very well
and Snuffles on release day
was released at Fourth Crossing
under a log (see next photo)
Echidna, who I named Snuffles, came into care after a rather nasty mishap on a
friend of mine was traveling home when he saw a ball in the middle of the road.
As cars drove past - at high speeds and without stopping - he saw the ball roll
from one side of the road to another, and then back again.
ball turned out to be Snuffles, who had curled herself into a tight ball to try
and protect herself. Her spines were no competition to the cars that sped past,
but the gods must have been on her side - she was lucky to have survived. And
she was lucky that a kind hearted bloke happened to drive by at that moment and
didn't come away unharmed however. She had sustained injuries to her beak. When
I saw her my heart sank - beak injuries in an Echidna are rarely repairable as
damage usually compromises the strength of the beak which is used to break into
termite mounds. Sadly, this kind of injury usually equals euthanasia.
wasn't entirely sure just how much damage was done so I decided to wait and see
what the vet thought, and the next morning I choofed off to my local vet. Judith
x-rayed Snuffles beak and found that the bone underneath was only chipped and
she advised me that the damage would heal given some TLC. Yippee!
was a pretty nasty looking cut on the tip of Snuffles beak (hence her name, the
injury made her snuffle as she breathed). The wound was slightly infected and
required a short course of antibiotics. Todd was away at the time, so my neighbours
Rob and Jen helped me out as did my my trusty wildlife aid Murray
(god love his heart and soul) who traveled down to Fourth Crossing to help me
administer Snuffles antibiotics. This was no easy task however, as whenever Snuffles
was handled she would curl herself up to protect her soft underbelly - the very
place I needed to put the needle!
first few days of Snuffles care were inside a heated crate. Echidnas can't tolerate
high temperatures so a thermometer was placed inside the crate to ensure the temperature
didn't rise excessively. To keep Snuffles wounds clean the crate was lined with
soft towels and not dirt and leaf litter as this may have caused further infection
in the wound.
slept soundly for the first few days after her ordeal. But as she grew stronger,
so did her desire to get out of that crate!! To keep the lid firmly in place I
used packaging tape to secure it to the crate. This was no obstacle for an escaping
Echidna! With all her might she pushed through the gap (that allowed air into
the crate) and was on the way to freedom. Pity for Snuffles, I was close by and
her escape was thwarted.
escapee Echidna was then moved into a bigger crate - one that she couldn't reach
the top of! As her beak wound had healed nicely Snuffles was given the luxury
of dirt, leaf litter and bush furniture in her new home. A heat pad was placed
under the dirt in one corner which she loved to sleep on top of at night. During
the day she would shuffle around and the bush like setting kept her occupied as
she searched for food and dug to her hearts content.
Snuffles natural food was a daily task. Luckily we have a couple of termite mounds
on Fourth Crossing and we cut the top off one to access the tiny bugs inside.
After collecting the termites and dirt we would put the lid back on to keep it
closed to the weather. After Snuffles had gone it was amazing to see that the
termites had completely sealed the lid to the rest of the mound as if it was never
there in the first place.
loved her termite slurry which had other yummy goodies in it like lean mince meat,
egg and calcium. Her long tongue would slurp up the delicious meal quite quickly.
She was getting it pretty good at the Fourth Crossing diner and during her time
in care she put on 1kg.
Snuffles beak had healed and the bone inside was strong again she was ready to
be released back into the wild. We chose a great site down the back in the bushy
area of our property.
quickly shuffled to a hollow log on the ground and squeezed in with only her spiky
rump exposed. She didn't move from there for the longest time and we grew bored
of watching her backside. Feeling rather chuffed we went back home to later return
to check on her progress.
was gone.... back to bush.