PRICKLY PROBLEM: Curious young echidnas can get themselves into trouble as they explore.
PRICKLY PROBLEM: Curious young echidnas can get themselves into trouble as they explore. Nicolas Schleheck

The problem with puggles

A LOT of puggles have been getting themselves into pickles lately.

Puggles, or baby echidnas, are very curious creatures and WIRES Northern Rivers' echidna co-ordinator Sharon McGrigor says they are on the move.

She's concerned because a number of echidnas are being hit by cars and then need to go into care.

"We've been getting a few in lately," she said.

"They're moving around a fair bit at the moment.

"The female echidnas have little puggles in their burrows, so mums are out looking for food.

"The young echidnas, about seven or eight months old, are also dispersing.

"They are little sticky-beaks ... they are going on adventures and being inquisitive.

"We had one echidna that somehow managed to get itself stuck in a glass jar. The vet had to give him a sedative to get the jar off. We called him Sharpy. But he's bright as a button now.

"Unfortunately because all these echidnas are out wandering around, a lot of them are getting hit by cars.

"We just need people to be aware."

Ms McGrigor said puggles were amazing animals, but there were some important rules to remember if you come across an injured one.

Echidnas need to keep their body temperature at about 25 degrees. Do not wrap an echidna in blankets or try to keep it warm.

"Create a temporary burrow with a big tub, and put in an ice pack, wrapped in a towel," Ms McGrigor said. "Then call WIRES. Echidnas need specialised attention and we have a few volunteers trained in that now.

"We normally keep the young echidnas in care for about five months, but if we get an older injured echidna in care we try to get them out as quickly as possible, in case they have a puggle in a burrow.

"They are amazing animals to have in care. They tend to bond with you a bit; they look you in the eye.

"Because they're so curious, they have no prob- lems when it's time to release them into the wild."

If you find any injured animal, call WIRES Northern Rivers on 6628 1898.

The organisation will conduct a training course in Lismore on February 17-18, teaching people how to rescue and care for injured and orphaned wildlife. Details: wiresnr@wiresnr.org.



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