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Comments 35

Last night I saved an echidna’s life

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I was driving home in the rain after dropping my son back to his Dad’s. Narrow country lanes with many twists and turns, up and down hills, with bush and forest on either side.

I rounded a corner, and suddenly my headlights picked out an echidna crossing the road. Do you Americans and Poms know what that is? Like a hedgehog or porcupine on steroids:

Australian Echidna #nature #native animal

#echidna #Australia

I slowed down, as it was just passing my left side of the road, on its way across the right.

Then I saw the beams of another car coming round the corner towards me; it would hit the echidna directly!

I didn’t hesitate. I slammed on the brakes, poked on my flashing hazard warning lights, and opened my door.

The echidna must have seen the lights of the other car approaching, as it paused, then turned around and hurried back towards me, and the safety of the bush from where it had come. It looked like it was going to waddle under my car, so I stuck my foot out to stop it.

Instantly it curled into a ball, which is its wonderful defense mechanism (except when it comes to dealing with cars).

Then I heard another vehicle coming, but this time behind me, which meant it could potentially smash into my rear end… I just had to hope it was going slowly enough to stop. Time slowed down (such a clichΓ© but it really did), and I focused on the echidna, 10 centimetres from me, highlighted by two cars’ headlights, as the rain softly fell.

It would have made a wonderful photo.

‘Come on darlin’, you gotta cross over,’ I whispered.

It was like they were the magic words it needed to hear, for it simply uncurled, turned back around, and finished crossing the road away from me, with the incredible undulating walk they have.

Another car came round the corner behind the first one I’d stopped, so now there were four of us, paused in the middle of our journeys, watching and waiting in the dark drizzle.

I escorted it all the way over till it was safely in the grassy undergrowth, then got back in my car. As I drove off, the woman in the first car (who could easily have hit it) wound her window down, stuck her arm out towards me, and with a beaming smile said:

‘Thank you. Thank you so much.’

We grinned wide at each other, and I smiled the rest of the way home. Perhaps that echidna wouldn’t make it across another time, but that night, we did it…

Today, when I thought about it, I began to wish I’d taken video footage or photos, as it was all so dramatically lit/up close/unusual subject etc etc. But then I realised how great it is that I could still just act on instinctive impulse, taking care of a fellow earth creature, without remembering my social media learned behaviour.

And that made me even happier.

What about you? Do you have a ‘saving nature’ story- I’d love to hear it.

In gratitude, G x

 

PS: Here’s a quick National Geographic clip about echidnas if you’re curious xx

35 Comments

  1. Many years ago I was an animal control officer in California. I got a call over the radio to head toward a park on a Sunday afternoon, a park filled with picnic goers. The information that I got was that there was a dangerous raccoon in the park and that it was bothering picnickers.

    When I arrived I surely did see a full circle of people with the raccoon in the middle, and people shouting at me “it’s sick” and “it’s dangerous”

    Animal control officers carry a long stick with a loop at the end called acome along “. It allows officers to escort all sorts of animals without having to get closer than five or 6 feet to it. Policy stated that since it could’ve been a rabies carrier or harmed me because it was either sick or injured, I should’ve used this stool.

    My instinct told me I didn’t need to do that. So I asked people to please step back another 20 feet, and I kneeled to one knee. The raccoon stared me down for a good 90 seconds, and I tried an outstretched hand. Sure enough slowly that raccoon waddled the 20 feet to me. My heart was pounding I had no idea what it was going to do when it reached me. But all it did was cling up my knee and my torso until it clung to me like am infant over my shoulder. And I walked it back to the truck.

    About half the crowd erupted into a cheer. The other half still mouth gaping open.

    We vaccinated her. And decided she was releasable becasude she was domesticated. Was probably a per that had gotten away. No one ever claimed or called for her. When I left that job she was still a happy family member at the farm / station.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh thank you thank you Jac, that story has teared me up here in Oz! How wonderful, and thank you so much for sharing it, my readers will love it, no doubt. Blessings for your kindness, G xOO

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    • Exactly. I felt so present, and like I knew what to do- I didn’t even get worried about the other cars, or what the drivers thought etc; I was just so focused on that little creature’s crossing. It’s burnt into my brain’s memories more clearly than any video (although it would have been AWESOME to share with everyone, I must admit). Thank you for commenting and understanding, as ever xO G

      Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, I would have felt so bad if I’d not stopped, and stopped the other car- I just had to do something! We see so much ‘road kill’ nowadays, as more people move into rural areas, and I find it very distressing

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely story. I adore echidnas especially the furry cold climate ones like those in Tasmania!. In SA the echidnas are a different species and bigger without the thick fur under their spines. As for my own rescues – so many stories but my favourite 2 are rescuing a tiny baby ringtail possum from the ground under an oak tree, almost dead, and nursing it back to life through 4 hour bottle feeds 24/7. And a baby koala at a local supermarket carpark in the Adelaide Hills, after a heat wave sitting on the ground being fed water by a kind young woman while a few people watched and took photos. We got to pat the baby while we waited for fauna rescue. It was an adolescent and had probably never experienced a drought and heat wave, poor thing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww, bless those hot Adelaide Hills koalas! I wasn’t sorry to leave them behind. And how wonderful you could save a ringtail possum, that’s dedicated feeding, good on you Cougar : ) Thanks so much for sharing your stories, G

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yay, such a good story. I love echidnas. They are a symbol of home and family and people close to heart. What medicine did this one bring you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saved her little cousin hedgehog before. We have many around here and we learn that when winter is coming and little ones are out in the light, they are in trouble.
    I picked one of these up while walking the dog. My daughter spotted him close to the road. It was a tiny thing.
    We kept him for a week until I could drop him off at a sanctuary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fantastic work! When I lived in England, I used to love hedgehogs, & we saved one too- kept it in the pantry for a week or so. Very cute 😊 Thank you for commenting πŸ™πŸΌβ€G

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve never heard of this little animal and I loved the National Geo video you shared along with the post. What a delightful story to read today. I really appreciate your care and saving of this little friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Nina, & I’m glad you enjoyed the clip- they’re fascinating aren’t they? And yes, I’m so grateful I could share this happy story πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸΌ G

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Aww I completely love this! Kindness to a great degree ☺☺☺ plus really cool connections with your fellow drivers. What a lovely story! Blessings. PS I think I saw them when I was in Australia!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It feels so good to save a critter!! Well done!!
    It is vastly different in America, there are all kinds of critters running around the roads even in the suburbs with squirrels being the biggest contender but there are also skunks, raccoons, armadillo, possums, turtles, frogs and deer just to name a few.
    I have lived here almost 13 years and have never hit a critter yet, I have stopped to let hundreds cross and have also gotten out of my vehicle and physically moved frogs/toads and turtles with my foot. When I moved into my cabin in the woods I felt sure that I would at some point be unfortunate enough to hit a critter but my record still stands. I have only 26 days left in the US, I am hoping that I can get through the remainder of those days free of hitting any critters particularly with the road trip I am on.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a wonderful story, full of heart and warmth. And what cool animals. I have a lot of deer in my area and I always pray that I don’t hit anything. I don’t even like to see something on the side of the road that was run over and I’m super sensitive to it and the energy that comes from it. I remember a story, still living in Germany where I had the chance to save a hedgehog. He was wounded on the side of the road as I found him, but he was alive. I took him home and nursed him back with the help of my Baby Dolls bottle for milk and chamomile to help heal his wounds. It was wonderful and I made a difference for that little guy just like you did here. Great job, thank you

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love hedgehogs so much! I’m glad you saved him, well done. And yes, I hate seeing ‘road kill’ as we call it here, I always feel a little saddened by the loss of yet another wild creature… Thank you for reading and commenting, sharing your story. Blessings, G

      Liked by 2 people

  9. They do look like porcupines…so cute! Do they shoot their quills like porcupines do? If so, I’m so glad he didn’t do that to you…I love how you spoke to him and how that eased him to cross the road. It is such a wonderful magical experience. I have had so many run-ins lately with nature’s animals…I currently have a caterpillar living in my hatchway. I don’t want to put him outside because I’m afraid his predators might eat him. Plus if he wanted to get out he could, he found his way in and there are cracks enough for him to get out. I did a post on that too…with the symbolism of course. And he brought me good news too, the article I read said the more brown the caterpillar the milder the winter the more black the harsher the winter. Well at first I thought he was more black than brown, but when I took his pic and was able to see him better he’s much more brown than black. I was very pleased about that! I haven’t seen Shiva for a while now but I know I’ve heard him out there…it’s been pretty mild so he could still be hanging around. I’m going to believe he is. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

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