Echidnas on move looking for mates
IT'S echidna breeding season and we are likely to see a few more wandering about the streets of Warwick in the coming months.
Wildlife rescuers expect an increase in rescue calls from concerned residents who either find an echidna in their yard or are worried about one wandering up the footpath - but often it's best just to leave them alone.
The primary danger to echidnas in Warwick is traffic.
While they are mobile during the next few months, please slow down and, if you see an echidna, stop and allow it to cross the road. They aren't fast movers.
Often as a car approaches they'll ball up so you'll need to go around or wait till they move off. Or if you have appropriate protection, you can pick them up and move them off the road.
If you find your dog harassing an echidna in the yard, the best thing to do is move the dog away until the echidna has a chance to get away.
Wildlife rescuers are permitted to move the echidna only a short distance away.
Relocating an echidna - even for their apparent safety - can be detrimental to the animal which has probably grown up in that location, knows where food, water and danger is, and won't have the same information in a different location.
During breeding season, if the echidna is female the chances are she has left young in a den and relocating her would mean a death sentence for the young.
Cats and dingos are listed as threats to echidnas, but dogs rarely cause them significant problems.
If you need to remove an echidna from your yard, never use a shovel which can easily damage the feet and the very sensitive beak. Call trained rescuers on 0447 108 619 or, after 9pm, 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).
An echidna will need to be taken to a vet and/or brought into care only if it has been hit by a car or has damage to the beak (which is incredibly sensitive).
Echidnas will blow clear bubbles from their nostrils - this is a natural behaviour and helps clean the nose.
It is only of concern if there is obvious damage, or the bubbles are pink or blood-stained.
This can indicate a break in the beak.
Unilateral breaks can sometimes be repaired butbilateral breaks to the beak are a death sentence and the echidna will most likely be euthanised as an alternative to suffocating or starving to death.
If you see an echidna on the road, slow down, stop and let it pass.
Should you find your dog harassing an echidna, move the dog away and leave the echidna to pass.
Relocating an echidna can be detrimental to its health.
If you need to remove an echidna, don't use a shovel. Phone 1300 264 625.