25x25cm Pencil on Bristol Paper
Echidnas and Platypus are the only living mammals that lay eggs and the only surviving Monotreme members . Adult echidnas vary in size, from 35 to 53cm. Males weigh about 6 kilograms and females about 4.5 kilograms. The echidna looks fearsome enough, but it’s a shy animal and would rather retreat than fight if disturbed. When frightened it will curl into a ball, with its snout and legs tucked beneath it and its sharp spines sticking out. It will wedge itself beneath rocks, or burrow straight down into soft soil, to escape predators such as dogs, eagles and dingos. Like the platypus, the male echidna has a hollow spur on its back leg. While a male platypus can use this spur to inject poision into would-be attackers, echidnas do not have this ability. Being monotremes, echidnas produce young from eggs which are hatched outside their body, in the same way as birds and most reptiles. She then rolls the egg into a small pouch where it takes about 10 days to hatch, producing a young animal which measures around 1.45cm (about the size of a jellybean) and weighs as little as 380 milligrams. The young echidna, called a puggle, is carried around in its mother’s pouch for about three months, during which the female will sometimes drop it into a burrow for protection. By the time the infant leaves the pouch, its spines have started to develop, but it still stays close to its mother and continues to suckle milk through specialised pores in the skin inside her pouch. Although they begin to eat termites and ants soon after leaving the pouch, young echidnas are often not fully weaned until they are several months old. Usually only one single egg is produced each year around July-August. Echidnas have been known to live for as long as 16 years in the wild, but generally their life span is thought to be under 10 years.

Proceeds of the original artwork was donated to Wildlife Rescue South Coast
to support the rescue and rehabilitation of Native Australian Fauna
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