A quick phone-call resolves a prickly situation
Leighton farmer Simon Drew wasn’t expecting to find a stranded echidna in the inspection pit of his workshop recently when he went to look for a vehicle part. But a quick call to the Natural Resources Centre in Clare and help was on its way.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke (NRNY) Lower and Mid North district team leader Grant Roberts and work experience student Tayla Kelly from Clare High School went out to the Leighton property, removed the echidna and released it in the nearby Leighton Forest Reserve.
Mr Roberts said the echidna had dug into loose earth in the wall of the inspection pit and Simon was concerned that he may have injured the animal while trying to free it.
“The echidna was firmly attached to the wall of the pit and we had to carefully dig it out,” Mr Roberts said.
“When they are alarmed, echidnas instinctively dig in and they can be quite difficult to move.”
“If they are out in the open they should be left alone as they will move on once the danger has passed, but occasionally they get themselves into situations like Simon’s inspection pit and they have to be rescued.”
NRNY regional ecologist Lee Heard said that while people might occasionally see echidna scratchings, there were very few actual sightings recorded for the Mid North area and this was a valuable record.
“Echidnas are very solitary animals whose diggings around ant and termite nests are often the only sign that they are out in the landscape,” Ms Heard said.
“We are recording sightings of echidnas across our region, and are keen to hear from anyone who sees animals and can provide dates, location information and even a photo.”
Anyone who finds a native animal in difficult circumstances and is unsure how to handle it and return it to safety should call the Natural Resources Centre Clare on 8841 3444.
Sighting information should be emailed to the Natural Resources Centre Clare at DEWNR.NRNY@sa.gov.au.