Generally seen strolling along the ground or half buried in soil for a sleep in the wild, the Echidnas at Taronga’s Education Centre which meet students and visitors have been given a new exercise regime.
Our keepers have developed ‘obstacle courses’ as extra enrichment activities to keep the echidnas mentally and physically active. Food is hidden among a variety of wooden obstacles.
These have proved no problem at all the echidnas, which smell out the food and easily make their way up and sometimes over the specially-designed timber structures in order to retrieve their food reward. Believe it or not, echidnas are actually remarkable climbers. ‘Spike’ takes to the challenge with ease where as ‘Pugsley’, a much smaller echidna, can sometimes take a little longer with the task.
Staff across all keeping departments at Taronga continually develop enrichment activities to esnure the animals retain their remarkable wild skills. Some of the ingenious ideas include filling a water container with carrots for the giraffe herd which use their 45cm long prehensile tongue to extract the carrots , or freezing a bucket filled with water, peanuts, fruit, vegetables and sugar cane in it before hanging it up for our elephants to explore, manipulate and extract the treats.
- Zoo Communications