Books and DVD's

Tachyglossidae - We are Spiny and Snouty

echidna with a shiny nose note the quills like a porcupine a closer look at the quills

Family Characteristics

The family tachyglossidae(Tachy means rapid while glossus means tongue) are very widely spread around Australia. The source of the name echidna is really cool! It comes from the greek goddess Ekhidna who is half reptile and half mammal. It refers to the ability of these mammals to both lay eggs and also nurse their young. They are very adaptable creatures and are found in both the mountains and deserts of Australia and Tasmania.

They live where worms, ants and termites abound. Their tongues can move in and out of the mouth at about 100 times a minute, looking and probing for food. Please don't try doing that at home!


The echidna is a very amiable animal and as such does not seek to cause offense. They do have the same adaptation as porcupines and hedgehogs to evade predators. They curve up into a ball with their shiny spines erect, making it a bit hard for a predator to attack them and come away unscathed.

Species within this family

Tachyglossus aculeatus (Short-beaked Echidna)

Zaglossus attenboroughi (Sir David's Long-beaked Echidna)

Zaglossus bartoni (Eastern Long-beaked Echidna)

Zaglossus bruijnii (Western Long-beaked Echidna)