Den (dewhitton) wrote,

Echidna's Big Day Out

Last night H told me she had a nice big termite nest not far from her house, so today Fips and I went for a drive into the bush to visit her. Termites had invaded H's firewood pile, turning many of the logs into termite nest. I placed Fips on top, and we waited. He snuffled about for a few minutes, sneezing as dust went up his nose, then found The Spot. One powerful thrust and his nose vanished into the nest, right up to his eyes. His feet went in, dirt went flying, and in seconds only his spiney back was visible.

I began to wonder if it was time to dig him out when Fips extracted himeself from the hole, covered in dirt, mud and soldier termites. A few licks of the tongue took care of the ants. Then he began to potter about the base of the log, poking his nose into cracks, scratching occasionally and exhibiting Echidna General Food Searching Behaviours. We were really pleased with this and began planning a release strategy. Fips became bored and used his nose and feet to clear a patch of loose grass, before flopping and pressing his belly against the warm dirt. H and R said that in all their years of raising echidnas, they had never seen one do that.

Five minutes later Fips was back into the termites, sniffing, scratching and sneezing. Then he was back on his patch of dirt for a sun-bake. We watched him do this for two hours, then instead of returning to the termites, he found me and sat on my foot. That was enough of Nature, he thought, time to go home.

I've booked Termite Sessions with H & R for the next few weeks, then in early May he will have to go back to Orange for a few weeks of Outside Acclimatization before release. I know I shouldn't count my puggles before they hatch, but I think Fips' rehab will be successful.
Tags: echidna, rehab

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