Echidna takes a dip to keep cool in the heat

THIRSTY: A Raglan couple got a visit from this echidna during one of summer's very warm days. Picture: MERILYN DRYDEN
THIRSTY: A Raglan couple got a visit from this echidna during one of summer's very warm days. Picture: MERILYN DRYDEN

During summer’s hot weather a Raglan couple were pleased to have a visit from a thirsty echidna.

The animal took advantage of several water-filled bowls and troughs in various parts of their garden.

Not only was it drinking, but sometimes it also took advantage of a cooling bath, climbing in a bowl and getting as much water as possible on its body in an effort to cool down in the shallow water.

This happened several times, at different bowls, over the summer.

Echidnas are not often seen drinking, but it is likely that they do so fairly often, probably daily.

They will also swim voluntarily at times.

Most echidnas are quite timid, but sometimes they take less notice of people and activity.

This one became a frequent visitor during the warmer weather, not at all concerned by the photographer.

Earlier in the summer we were shown a photo of one sniffing a man’s boot while being photographed. That inquisitive and unafraid echidna was at Mt Rowan.

Mostly, however, an echidna will put its head down when people appear, with powerful vertical digging its next option if disturbed further.

Well-placed birdbaths have been busy all year. Lizards and snakes, like echidnas, also use them when within their reach.

NEWLYN BROLGAS

Brolgas are mostly birds of open plains country, so reports of them in the Newlyn district are welcome.

They have recently been reported at Hepburn’s Lagoon and Newlyn Reservoir, along with numerous other waterbirds including red-capped plover, royal spoonbill and white-bellied sea-eagle.

A double-banded plover (dotterel) has recently been added to the list of Hepburn’s Lagoon birds as well. This is a migrant from New Zealand, and rather a rarity in the Ballarat region.

SILENT KANGAROOS

Why are kangaroos so silent? Although they make some gasping and coughing noises when fighting and chasing, they seem to be totally silent when threatened. Like a sheep, an alarmed kangaroo takes off on its own, without warning others in its group.

The others have to work out for themselves what is happening, losing precious seconds if serious danger threatens.

Admittedly, the movement and the noise of the first moving kangaroo alerts all the others, but a special short warning noise before this would be much more speedy and effective.

Kangaroos can take off in all directions when disturbed, potentially towards danger as much as safety.