Australian Echidna

Hi again all. Here’s another illustration to kick off Australian Wildlife Week. This time I thought I might try to capture the wonder of the Australian Echidna.

The Australian Echidna is a peculiar critter in the animal realm, to be sure. It is one of just two monotremes on the globe, which is a term for an egg-laying mammal.

The Echidna’s spiky exterior is one of its most distinctive characteristics. It resembles nature’s own reverse pincushion due to its coating of sharp, pointed quills. These little fellas have an ingenious defence system where when threaded, they curl into a small spiky ball.

Another odd characteristic is their lengthy, sticky tongue. They utilise it to slurp up snacks like termites & ants. Just picture an adorable animal with a tongue that is longer than its beak!
Speaking of beaks, the echidna’s snout is perfectly suited for sifting through the Australian soil in search of insects. It’s a true expert at foraging!

These spiny, egg-laying, insect-eating creatures are also pretty remarkable for a small mammal in that they can live for over 50 years!

Thankfully, although the species is not thought to be globally threatened, different parts of Australia may have differing levels of protections for these creatures. Loss of habitat & land use continue to be major issues for many native Australian species. The goal of conservation efforts to protect their natural habitats & increase public awareness of these rare monotremes is ongoing, but proving effective.

Here it is, the Australian Echidna in all its eccentric beauty. This one was particularly fun to draw, and understanding more about these amazing animals made me appreciate Australia’s diverse fauna even more. Keep your eyes peeled for more Aussie winders this week!

Copic markers & fineliners, white pencil, Uni-Ball Gel & Posca on Strathmore Tan Tone Sketchbook.

Have you ever encountered one of these cute little pincushions, comment below? I’ve only really ever seen a couple from a distance during my entire life but I’m always on the lookout. ;P

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