Marsupial on Monaro Street

LIKE a tiny gunslinger with its spiky weapons bristling in the evening air, an echidna wandered into the main street of town on Saturday night.

The nearby Queanbeyan River is already a well-known platypus hotspot, but local man Daniel Tyson was surprised to see an echidna crossing Monaro Street as he went for dinner at the Central Cafe around 6.30pm on Saturday.

Mr Tyson noticed the echidna crossing the off-ramp between Monaro and Collett streets, just across the road from the Queanbeyan Leagues Club.

After parking the car, he went back to see if he could assist the spiky marsupial find some safer ground.

"It was just really random. I've never seen an echidna in an urban area before," Mr Tyson said.

"We went and parked the car under the plaza, and went to try and see what was happening because I didn't want any cars to run over it. By that time it had gone down towards the river, and then it was sort of crossing backwards and forwards between the Leagues Club and the ramp that goes down towards the river," he said.

"There was another couple there who were shepherding it over towards the river, and we were sort of just shuffling it towards there trying to get it down the ramp. Then a lady in a four-wheel drive came and she actually had a jumper so she could pick it up, and she put it her car to drop it off to WIRES."

Calls from

the Queanbeyan Age

to local wildlife carers failed to discover what became of the less-than-cuddly critter, however Wildcare officer Robin Kibblewhite said it was the right time of year to see echidnas out and about.

"It's just the time of the season where they're out and about looking for food. They've often got babies at this time as well, and they're out with the warm weather," she said.

Local biologist Dr Stephen Skinner said there was a resident echidna population in Queanbeyan up in the bushland near Karabar and Jerrabomberra, but that it was unusual to see one further north near the centre of town.

"You can find them on the south side of the Edwin Land Parkway. I would imagine they're about on Mount Jerrabomberra as well, so to come trundling down Southbar Road is not absolutely without precedent," Dr Skinner said.

"Also the apple box country by the river around Karabar is probably suitable habitat for them as well," he said.

If you come across an echidna in Queanbeyan, Wildcare's advice is to try and get it back into a safer location.

"If you seem them, they're on the move and they'll keep on moving, but if it's in a main street with a creek nearby, that's where it's come from," Ms Kibblewhite said.

"If you can protect it or get it moving off the street and into a safe spot, that's the way to go. I'd throw a towel over it and head it in the direction you want it.

"If people want to pick them up, the best way is to throw a towel over the top of them and to pick them up gently from underneath, then transport them back to a safe spot, back to the river or the bush," she said.

Have you seen an echidna in Queanbeyan? Let us know on our website,

www.queanbeyanage.com.au

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