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n. Either of two nocturnal, burrowing, egg-laying mammals of the genera Tachyglossus and Zaglossus of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, having a spiny coat, slender snout, and an extensible sticky tongue used for catching insects.
Echidnas, sometimes also referred to as "spiny anteaters", look fearsome enough, but they are a shy animal and would rather retreat than fight if disturbed. When frightened it will curl into a ball, with its snout and legs tucked beneath it and its sharp spines sticking out. It will wedge itself beneath rocks, or burrow straight down into soft soil, to escape predators such as dogs, eagles and dingos.
If you travel around Australia, you may well be lucky enough to see an Echidna. If you are really, really lucky, you may even meet my friend Ecka...