ECHIDNA TRAIN: Yes, it's a real thing, and maybe one day you'll be lucky enough to see a line of echidnas - sometimes as many as 10. The female is in the lead with the males behind and she may lead them around for weeks before choosing a mate.
ECHIDNA TRAIN: Yes, it's a real thing, and maybe one day you'll be lucky enough to see a line of echidnas - sometimes as many as 10. The female is in the lead with the males behind and she may lead them around for weeks before choosing a mate. Donna Anderson

Keep an eye open for an echidna train ... yes it's a thing

MANY current calls to our hotline are regarding echidnas that are spotted in house yards. Sometimes the animal has "dug in" or rolled into a ball, which are its ways of defending itself when it feels insecure and in danger.

The best solution is to leave the echidna alone, remove the threat (usually the family dog) and the echidna will go on its way once it feels secure. Echidnas have a great memory, and it is unlikely that it will return after a frightening experience.

As the weather gets cooler, echidnas become more active and are starting to travel further afield looking for a mate.

If you are very lucky you might see as many as 10 echidnas walking in a line.

This is called an echidna train. The female is in the lead with males behind in order of size! She may lead them around for six weeks before choosing a mate.

Unfortunately, this increased activity makes echidnas more vulnerable on the roads. Please be alert when you drive to avoid injuring an echidna. echidnas don't move very quickly, so please slow down to allow them to safely cross - and keep an eye out for injured animals that may be on the side of the road.

echidnas aren't easy animals to handle. The echidna's sharp spines, called quills, cover its back and moult every year. Each individual spine has a muscle attached to its base, giving the animal control over the movement and direction of its spines and enabling it to anchor itself firmly onto many surfaces by using the erect spines.

If you find an echidna on the road, it may have been hit. Injuries are not always apparent. If you can, cover with a towel and move it off the road. Please stay with the animal and call WIRES right away. Do not put the echidna in your car uncontained as it may bed itself in and be very difficult to remove.

When you ring the WIRES hotline (66281898), one of our members will talk you through the situation and how you can assist until a rescuer arrives.

It is also very important to know where the echidna is from as we always aim to return them to their home territory where they are likely to have a burrow.