Echidna Topics

Conservation | Reproduction | Long-Beaked Echidna | Monotremes and other relatives | Echidna rescue | Academic | Other Topics


Pelican Lagoon Research Centre. This is Peggy Rismiller's research center on Kangaroo Island, the premiere spot for Echidna research. Their website is a font information about echidnas and the other inhabitants of the island. Their DHTML menus, however, don't work in Mac IE, so I find their site extremely annoying to use...

Join the Echidna-work on Kangaroo Island. Earthwatch runs a program assisting Peggy Rismiller and her staff. The program is called "Echidnas and Goannas of Kangaroo Island," and is not free to join.

Natalie Mikecz's account of her experience on an Earthwatch echidna project, from Paddy Pallin, an Australian clothing merchant. Interesting account. Mikecz states "Despite over 200 years of research, little relevant knowledge is known of the echidna." I can't resist imagining that 200 years of research has yielded only irrelevant knowledge--the echidna's favorite Pez, perhaps, or how many echidnas will fit in a telephone booth.

Project Proposal: "Breeding Ecology and Conservation of Short-Beaked Echidnas". The American Zoo and Aquarium Association is sponsoring work on Kangaroo Island, Australia (the Pelican Lagoon Research Centre). Echidna export has been restricted since the 1970s, and echidnas don't breed well in captivity, so American zoos find echidnas in short supply.

Effort to save the Bruce/O'Connor Ridge in Canberra, includes a letter from Echidna researcher Peggy Rismiller and an extremely cute echidna close-up.


"Echidna Love Trains" from the Scribbly Gum program on Australian Broadcasting. This is hands-down the best single echidna page out there. The main focus is mating (including photographs of this delicate event), but the page brims with facts of all kinds and includes an eight-minute interview with Peggy Rismiller, a top echidna researcher. Includes a good Photo Gallery .

Q&A with Echidna-ologist Peggy Rismiller, mostly on echidna reproduction. Transcript courtesy "The Science Show," a radio show on the Australian Broadcasting Service.

Echidna Reproduction ("The Birds and the Bees') from Ellie-Za's Echidna Enclave.

Long-Beaked Echidna

Talking Point (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) did a radio show on the Long Beaked Echidna (February 2002). No audio available.

Brief profile with links and biological and ecological data, by Paul Massicot, from Animal Info, "information on Rare, Threatened and Endangered Mammals."

Radio-Tracking Long-Beaked Echidnas in Papua New Guinea, a project description from the Pacific Biological Foundation. The images are clickable.

Nature Wildfacts from the BBC.

Monotremes and other relatives

Mesozoic Mammals? Monotremata, an internet directory by Trevor Dykes. This is an large and varied set of information and resources. Some links are dead. This is just one sub-page of his The Evolution of Mesozoic Mammals, a Rough Sketch, which includes many such directories. Dykes is to be congratulated for his prodigous efforts. He notes repeatedly that he is a hobbyist, not a scientist. I think there is significant value in popularizing, and in applying an educated layman's omniverous but discerning eye to topics like this.

UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology's introduction to monotremes, with information about the fossil record, biology, classification and morphology.

Introduction to Monotremata pointing out the salient characteristics, including the cloaca and the forked penises (unmentioned on most kids pages).

Echidna Relatives ("Country Cousins") compares echidnas, hedgehogs (not related), the platypus and the Papua New Guinea long-beaked echidna, from Ellie-Za's Echidna Enclave

PDF: Egg-laying mammals fact sheet from the Queensland Museum.

Echidna rescue

Caring for Echidnas by Lynda Staker, from Fauna Rescue of Queensland. Contains detailed tips on caring for echidnas.

Echidna info, and what to do if you find one from the Mudgee (New South Wales) Wildlife Information & Rescue Service.


Abstract: "Lactose synthesis in a monotreme, the echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus): isolation and amino acid sequence of echidna alpha-lactalbumin." by M. Messer , M. Griffiths , PD Rismiller, and DC Shaw, Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. (whatever that stands for!) 1997 Oct;118(2):403-10. Explores echidna lactose synthesis.

"The Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus Combines REM and Non-REM Aspects in a Single Sleep State: Implications for the Evolution of Sleep" by J. M. Siegel, P. R. Manger, R. Nienhuis, H. M. Fahringer, and J. D. Pettigrew, J. Neurosci. (May 15, 1996)

Abstract: "Patterns of activity and inactivity in echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) free-ranging in a hot dry climate: correlates with ambient temperature, time of day and season" by P. H. Brice, G. C. Grigg, L. A. Beard and J. A. Donovan, Australian Journal of Zoology. Full text costs $18.

Other Topics

Audio: "Echidnas on the move," Radio interview with Kate Robinson, a ranger in New South Wales, on unusually large migrations. (June 2002)

Body temperature of echidnas, with rare pictures of echidnas swimming and in snow. From Ellie-Za's Echidna Enclave.

CT scans of a platypus skeleton you can also see from different angles. Includes an excellent set of online resources. The site, DigiMorph, is a serious scientific resource. Unfortunately, they have not yet scanned an echidna.

Discussion of the topic: Can echidnas get off of their backs? (Yes, they can.)

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like my other animal site:

Flying Squirrel Central. Complete guide to flying squirrel species the world over

Giraffe Central. Over 200 giraffe sites, and a thumbnail gallery of over 100 images.