VIDEO: Healing bath for an injured echidna

By AG Staff Writer 3 June 2016
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An echidna found injured in Maryborough, QLD, is being looked after at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.

SOMETIMES AFTER A rough day, there’s nothing quite like a soothing bubble bath.

Sadly, Biddy the echidna had a particularly rough day recently, having been found in a backyard in Maryborough – about 255km north of Brisbane, Queensland – with severe cuts to the back, legs and spines.

The injuries were likely caused by nearby slashing work, and Biddy was taken to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for treatment.

X-rays showed Biddy had suffered a minor rib fracture but, thankfully, no injuries to the beak – damage to which is detrimental to echidnas’ ability to find food, and can therefore be fatal.

Related: ‘How many assumptions have been made?’ There’s a lot we don’t know about echidnas

The only way to disinfect Biddy’s cuts without the spines getting in the way was with an antiseptic bath. Following the bath, a team of three worked to remove the residual dirt and hair from between each spine, before de-ticking Biddy’s entire body and suturing a deep wound on the front-right leg.

According to Biddy’s treating vet, Dr Sharon Griffiths, the outlook is good.

“Biddy came to us in distress with severe cuts and abrasions on the back and leg, as well as broken, missing and bent spines. Apart from the obvious injuries, Biddy is a healthy adult echidna who, after a lot of care and attention, should be ready to return to life in the wild,” she said.

Biddy is now recovering at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on a course of antibiotics and pain relief medication.

Echidna breeding season is from June to September, so the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors have urged everyone to drive safely and keep an eye out for them.