There are sometimes very interesting calls that come through the WILVOS Hotline 5441 6200 number.
This week I had a call from a veterinary surgery about an echidna and her puggle. Members of the public took the beautiful big female and her dead puggle there after seeing the car in front of them hit her and drive on. How can people do this?
What was surprising about this call was that it was the first time I have ever had a female echidna come in with her young. We don’t know whether an echidna is a female or male unless it is breeding time when they form a pouch specially for the occasion. The egg is laid into this pouch and once hatched it is still a miracle that it isn’t dislodged in just the normal everyday, or should I say night, foraging. When people see find an injured echidna on the road it is not thought to check in the vicinity for a puggle.
Though the little one was dead, it was an education to see what stage of development this puggle had reached at this time of year in south-east Queensland. They are absolutely fascinating creatures and the little puggles are a joy to rehabilitate. Everything is opposite to other wildlife. They aren’t kept warm as other animals are when orphaned or injured. When a puggle is deposited in a burrow the temperature will not go too much over 18 degrees. They die of heat stress if over 30 degrees for a length of time. That’s why if we see an echidna out and not moving in the sun, we would think there is something wrong. Mothers come back and feed the young in the burrow every few days, so NEVER move an echidna to a different area.
This female was injured so was taken to the Australian Wildlife Hospital for xrays and further investigation. Unfortunately, she had fractures in her ankle joint which could not be repaired. Their feet and legs have immense pressure on them with all the digging. Though euthanized, the people who stopped and rescued this animal saved her from an agonizing time, before a slow death would have been the end result.
These sad events are sometimes the best rescues for the injured animal.
Donna Brennan Wildlife Volunteers Assoc Inc (WILVOS) PO Box 4805 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560 PH 5441 6200 www.wilvos.org.au