I went back to the bathroom and started there, even looking into the toilet and giving it a flush just to make sure. I was highly relieved to see it wasn't blocked. So I grabbed a torch and started at one end of the room, draging out all the junk from under wardrobes, removing bottom drawers so I could check the space beneath, shifting speakers, probing with broom handles... noting. Not a saussage. The fly screens were still attached to the windows so he hadn't climbed 4 feet up a wall to get out that way.
Where the hell was he?
Time to get help. I called Polly into the room. "Where's Fips?" I said. She barked and looked happy. I knew this was a long shot; she doesn't like Fips. Maybe it's his strangness, maybe it's the way he just walks at her relentlessly in that near-sighted echidna way. "Skitch the 'Kidna!" She ran to her patch of carpet and lay down, her tail thumping happily because she was being a GOODDOG. Then she jumped to her feet and stared at her carpet. When they lay carpet in my room there was a strip 3 feet x 6feet left over, so I put it beside the bed for Polly's Carpet to keep the carpet below clean. Now she was staring at it, ears right up. There were no Fips-sized lumps under there, so what was she looking at? Then she leaned forward and placed her nose on the end that curls over because the strip is silghtly too long for the space. I opened the curl of carpet, and a spiney black ball rolled into the light. Polly freaked and jumped onto my bed. Fips uncurled himself and sat blinking in the light.
I put him back in the cage and he burrowed straight to the bottom.
I am now a little more paranoid about his cage locks and find myself checking the latches ever time I go past. So far so good.
Tomorrow we're going Termite Hunting.
*The toilet cubicle is the coolest part of my room** so I keep bats and echidnas in there. It makes late-night visits interesting.
**My bedroom is converted from my parent's garage*** and has its own dunny
***Yep. 46 and living in may parent's garage. That's not as bad as it sounds: I have a 1/2 share in this house. When the tennents move out of the other house I have 1/2 shares in, I'll move into there.