Echidna: Animal Dreaming

wp-image-505075752jpg.jpgAnother amazing animal, this suit really is filled with some exceptional creatures!

They are named after Echidna, a half woman half snake creature from greek mythology.

The echidna’s closest relative may be the platypus, both are egg laying mammals with tiny electroreceptors on their snouts which detect currents.  For the echidna, this allows them to burrow and detect prey with their eyes closed.  Despite laying eggs, their babies, called puggles(!), hatch very undeveloped so they need a lot of looking after and nourishment.

All of this though, comes after mating.  And the echidna is a solitary character who goes quietly about her own business.  When the time is right, an echidna train will form – a female followed by male after male after male…  Not much is known about the echidna’s life but we do know that the males have a four headed penis and their shaft is covered in spines…  During mating, two of the heads sort of shut down and the other two are used to release semen.  The active heads alternate each time the male has sex. We also know that they flatten their spikes to mate.

Once the eggs are hatched, the puggles remain in mum’s pouch for 45 to 55 days and will be kicked out when they start to grow spikes.  Mum then digs a nursery burrow and leaves the puggles there, coming back every few days to feed them.

When the echidna is threatened, they curl up into a ball, leaving their spikes facing outwards so the predator gets a mouthful of spines.  These spines are made of keratin, the same stuff that our nails are made of.  They are designed for self preservation and they are defensive as opposed to offensive, with a gentle nature despite their spikes.  In one dreaming, the echidna refused to fight and thus his spines are the spears he continues to keep with him.

Other helpful adaptations include backwards facing feet which help with digging, sharp claws and a sticky tongue help them get to the ants and termites that they eat.  They can also breathe in bush fires by entering a mini hibernation type state in which they don’t need so much oxygen.  So much about the echidna is about self preservation and personal protection.

Whilst that is it for animal spirit cards, there are some plants and animals that I have a personal relationship with or affinity for and I will be doing a few random posts to look into them.

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