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For the spermologers

August 9, 2018

The many diggings on the property at the moment indicate that echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) are currently out and about. They are usually seen roaming across the landscape as individual animals and are rarely seen in a group, which for those spermologers (collectors of trivia) amongst us is called a parade.

The best chance to see a parade of echidnas is during breeding season, between June and September, i.e. now. The beginning of the courtship process involves male echidnas following in a line (nose to tail) behind a female echidna in what is known as an echidna train. The train can be many male animals long and can last for days before the female stops and the male at the head of the train (usually by this stage the fittest male) gets to mate. Male echidnas have been known to participate in several trains during a season.

I had known about these trains for many years but had never seen one. And so it was when walking last week I spied on the far slope (actually Mac, the Border Collie X spied it first) an echidna train. It was only three animals long but a train none the less. By the time I got there (Mac having arrived on the scene much earlier) the train had been derailed and in its place were three echidnas digging their way to Lajes das Flores , Azores (the exact opposite side of the earth from Strath Creek – another one for the spermologers!)

We (Mac and I) waited behind a tree until dark to see if the train would reform but to no avail –such is the state of the train system in Victoria.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2018 1:12 pm

    A friend of mine commented last week about echidnas on his property . He has observed the females emerging to defecate , then returning to their shelter and returning to torpor. This seems to happen fortnightly . Last week the female was followed by two males for some distance . Mating appeared to take place, she defecated and returned to her shelter , presumably to snooze again . Upotipotpon area.

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