Our first monotreme!

While we've seen echnidas in the nearby Ben Boyd National Park and on the road to Eden, we've never sighted one on the block. Given how much we prowl around our 5ha, we were beginning to think they might just not occur here. 
Until today! 

We were sitting inside this morning when Kerri spotted this guy wandering across our deck. 


We were able to confirm it was indeed a guy after she picked him up (not before donning a stout pair of gardening gloves!). No, we couldn't see the penis - although it is apparently a spectacular number when everted, having four heads! It was the spur on the ankle that gave it away.


You can see the spurs here, quite high up on the ankle. A gland behind the spur produces a waxy secretion, which unlike that from the platypus spur, is not venomous. It is thought to be used for territory marking. This fella was probably out and about looking for a female - as is their wont in the Spring.

We repositioned him in more suitable terrain next to the house and he immediately dug himself into the ground. With spines everted, he lay there motionless. Then after a while, he pushed out an exploratory snout, lifted himself up and casually sauntered off. 

We look forward to future visits!