Echidna Surviving Bushfire Video Echidna's Bushfire Survival Tactic


Australian bushfires are terrifying events. Raging fires with flames as high as four-story building tear through tinder dry vegetation at breakneck speeds incinerating almost everything in its path and leaving a charred desolate landscape behind.

Many people have noticed that after a bushfire the only animals that seem unaffected by the catastrophe are echidnas. They have been seen frequently roaming about the burnt-out landscape seemingly unaffected. So how does they do it? What survival tricks do they use?

The echidna survives by digging itself below the surface of ground. The layer of earth above it protecting it from the scorching flames and heat overhead. It then hibernates, lowering its metabolic rate drastically thereby reducing its oxygen requirement and allowing it to breathe the toxic oxygen starved carbon dioxide rich environment of its underground shelter. Following the devastation of a bushfire the echidna emerges from the safety of its underground shelter. Because food is scarce after a bushfire, the echidna compensates by lowing its body temperature down by as much as 20 °C and metabolism and goes into frequent states of torpor (mini hibernations) for as long as three weeks enabling it conserve energy and live through the hard times.

Related: Echidna - A Living Relic from Early Mammals

 


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