The echidna is best known not only as a mascot of Sydney
Olympic Games 2000, but also for its amazing biology. Like the platypus,
this unusual mammal lays eggs and suckles its young. The echidna and
platypus are the only members of a primitive group of mammals known as
Found all over Australia, the short-beaked Echidna is
covered with sharp spines and has strong legs and claws.
Echidnas are widely distributed throughout
Australia and Tasmania. Although not commonly seen, they are not
considered threatened. They live in a wide variety of habitats,
from cold mountainous peaks to deserts.
They usually found in places with a good
supply of ants and termites, where it lies on an ant-mound,
sticks out its tongue and lets ants walk onto it. Echidnas have
no teeth. It crushes its insect food between horny plates on its
tongue and the roof of its mouth.