Crikey, he's spiky.
Riders are usually pretty observant people. I mean, we sort of have to be if we want to be successful street riders, right? That also frequently comes in handy when something wanders out into the road, where it shouldn’t be. Aussie YouTuber SixFive Moto was out for a ride on a secluded bit of road when he rescued an unassuming echidna from probable doom.
At the beginning of the video, SixFive was rolling along on his MT-10 enjoying the gorgeous day when he spotted the little echidna up ahead in the opposing traffic lane. Naturally, he did what most of us would probably do and stopped his bike safely by the side of the road to try to help.
Here’s a quick echidna guide: there are both short-beaked and long-beaked ones, and the short-beaked ones are found all over Australia (though primarily in New South Wales). These spiny anteaters may look alarming if you haven’t seen one before, and although they can definitely hurt you, they’re not venomous, they don’t bite, and they’re terrified of predators. They also have short, stubby legs and can’t run very fast, but are extremely good at digging. Unfortunately, that prodigious earth-moving ability does absolutely no good on asphalt—so this little guy did the next best thing and curled up in a defensive ball.
That is, of course, probably the last thing you want to do on a roadway, but luckily, this one was pretty light on traffic at this time of day. For anyone who’s rescued turtles from roadways before, it’s kind of a similar situation, except with loads of spines that could potentially ensure nice, perforated airflow through your skin. Bet you never thought living that ATGATT life would be good for wildlife rescue, eh?
Shortly after SixFive stopped to help the little guy, a convertible driver pulled up to coach from the safety of his car. I mean, it’d be pretty difficult to approach a spiky guy like this without some type of armor, so the car guy couldn’t really have done much on his own. I once rescued a turtle from a roadway and had it thank me by peeing on my moto glove, but a quick clean after getting home and the glove recovered nicely.
In any case, this echidna is lucky, and SixFive is also lucky it wasn’t an absolutely huge example. According to the San Diego Zoo, adult echidna can reach up to 30 inches in length, and weigh up to 22 pounds. That’s most likely a figure for ones in captivity since they tend to have longer lifespans than those in the wild.