You may remember the little Echidna Puggle found at Brooklet by Melanie.
Little Jugoon, as she was named, had just started to grow her spines and likely would still have been in mum’s pouch. Had she been in a burrow it is highly unlikely that she would have made her way out. We can only assume that something happened and mum somehow dropped her.
That was 7 weeks ago.
Jugoon is now 4 months old, she noisily slurps her special Echidna formula, she sleeps a lot, just as she would have done had she not somehow been separated from her mum.
Echidna’s are not easy to spot in the wild because of their quiet, reclusive nature. They may be found in hollow logs, among rocks, under vegetation or piles of debris and under tree roots. Even though they are found in most Australian habitats, habitat loss poses a real threat to these amazing creatures.
You can help by retaining and restoring Echidna habitat.
The most beneficial step you can take is, where possible, retain fallen logs and branches, tree stumps, rocks, leaf litter and debris.
Retention of the understorey provides cover for Echidnas from predators, it provides good protection and habitat for the invertebrates which is the food source for Echidnas. At the same time this will also lead to other additional benefits for your property. Echidnas’ digging pits encourage seeds, water and nutrients to meet, giving seeds a better chance to germinate and survive in Australia’s poor soils. This helps improve soil health, promotes plant growth and keeps carbon in the soil, rather than the atmosphere. By improving Echidna habitat, we can significantly improve soil health and boost climate action efforts.
Establish native vegetation, such as trees, shrubs and grasses in habitat corridors and woodlots as these provide habitat and movement corridors for Echidnas.
A ‘neighbourhood’ approach to the establishment of Echidna habitat/corridors with adjoining properties can add to your own efforts.
By April 2022 Jugoon will be ready for release, she will start her vital role helping to tackle climate change as a soil engineer in the Australian landscape.
Picture by Leoni Byron-Jackson
Reference: NSW Environment NPWS