Today as I drove home a poor
little big echidna was stranded in the middle of a busy road. Thankfully he was quite visible and the cars were avoiding him, mostly because a quill from an echidna can definitely give you a flat tyre, but certainly no-one seemed to be able to spare 5mins to help him or maybe they didn't know how, so here is my echidna rescue 101.
It is always good practice to keep a sheet or towel in your car boot at all times for any eventuality and this is an essential item when handling wildlife. I turned around and pulled off the road but still allowing cars plenty of space to drive around the stranded echidna. Enlist the help of another passer by to watch your back and make sure the traffic slows and is not going to hit you too. Stand over the echidna and bunching the fabric to give padding (as if you were going to get something hot out of the oven) scoop the echidna on either side being ready to expect the major back muscles to extend and flex protectively around the animal. Keep clear of their strong legs and sharp claws. Remember, this animal is wild and frightened but his first instinct will be to form a tight ball and extend his quills protectively.
Lift it confidently and get off the road and then inspect for obvious damage in case it has been hit. If the animal needs treatment decide whether you will contact WIRES.org (Wildlife Rescue) or whether it is kinder to put the animal out of it's misery.
Luckily my guy, he had only a bloody skinned nose from trying to dig through the bitumen of the road in his distress. I felt he would definitely make a good recovery left in the safety of the nearby bush at the side of the road.
It's unfortunate and it is certainly not their fault that their homes are now bordered by suburbia and I think the only decent thing for us to do as their neighbours is to stop and help them when they stray into harms way. They are a really mild mannered animal and should not be feared.
Next time you see a poor little guy stuck in the middle of the road, don't assume someone else will do it, let that someone be you.