Echidnas head off on journey of romance

Five echidnas amble  through the West Tamar backyard of Jessica Gelston on their way to an amorous adventure. Picture: JESSICA GELSTON

Five echidnas amble through the West Tamar backyard of Jessica Gelston on their way to an amorous adventure. Picture: JESSICA GELSTON

IT'S echidna mating season and the spiky creatures are getting down to business.

However, it is a rare sight to witness the animals taking part in this ritual, which is referred to as an echidna train.

This photograph of five echidnas, of which four are probably male and one female, was captured by Jessica Gelston in the West Tamar area on Saturday.

Trowunna Wildlife Park owner Andrew Kelly said yesterday that echidnas were independent creatures, but around this cooler time of year they will awake from a shallow hibernation and pick up on each other's scent.

As there are fewer female breeding echidnas than males, they partake in group sex, he said.

The female then returns to her maternal burrow and at the end of August or September an egg or possibly two are laid. A baby echidna is called a puggle.

Mr Kelly said there was a plentiful supply of echidnas in the state, which are distinct from those interstate because of their partially fluffy coat intermingled with quills.

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