Echidna

TERMITE INSPECTION

A scratch at the door.

The dog knows to come around to the laundry.

Another scratch at the door.

Finally I get up to take a look.  It’s the termite inspector.

termites 2

I know there are many types of termites all around us, just waiting to have a little chew on the timber parts of the house.  We have the house inspected regularly, and the annexe had to  baits drilled in around the concrete foundation to deter an infestation.

Luckily, we have defenders in the form of echidnas (tachyglossus aculeata) who feed on them (and ants).

echidna at front door 2I followed as it ambled around the verandah, tried every door, peered over the edge of the stairs, sniffed at the walls and squeezed itself among Craig’s boot collection.   I was pleased that it wasn’t interested enough to start clawing at any particular spot.  I’ll take that as “no termites”.

On the other hand, it did seem rather small and young, so maybe not the best termite inspection we’ve had.

Eventually it noticed me, and threw itself into a corner, spikes bristling.   So I left it to its explorations.

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BLIND SNAKE

In the darkness, I heard the dog barking and scuffling with something in the gravel driveway.  I assumed it was a beetle.  Obviously something small.  But when I went over to look I could see it was a snake.

Calypso was dodging in and out enthusiastically.  So much for the snake-avoidance training.   I shouted at her, though, and she backed off.

“Is it a baby brown?”  I wondered.  It was too light-coloured for a red-bellied black snake.

But our biological dinner guests started shouting “Typhlops! Typhlops!”

Whatever that meant. Continue reading

FALLING IN ECHIDNA HOLES

B0000841Not so long ago I woke up to the sound of the dogs barking frantically at an echidna. They seem to take something about the way a spiny anteater moves as an affront to reality. The little heaves among the sharp spines it makes as each leg moves forward are an insult, as is the delicate pointed snout, and its intensely pointy coating.

Continue reading