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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 6

24. Echidna hystrix. — The Spiny Echidna

24. Echidna hystrix.

The Spiny Echidna.

This singular animal, of which I have seen two preserved skins at Mount Hope, is almost less known than the Platypus. Its geographical range does not extend far into the flat country, and it is generally found in mountain ranges among rocks and stones; a shepherd at Mount Hope assured me that the animals which he had preserved were captured at the mount; the natives further down the river did not appear to be aware of the existence of such an animal as the Echidna; their food is said to consist principally of ants and their eggs, though I have kept many in captivity and offered them the food mentioned, but without success. Upon hen-eggs they subsist for some time; they also like bread and milk, but seldom live longer than two or three months in captivity. I have reason to believe that, strange as it may appear, the Echidna lives upon grass also, as I have examined several which had the intestines full of digested grass or herbs.

Of the generation of this species nothing is as yet known, nor have I ever seen a very young Echidna, none at least less than six or eight inches long.