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Spike is a remarkable creature. He is covered in sharp spines which deliver a painful stab if you touch them. This gives him very good protection while he wanders about the country looking for ants and termites to eat.

When Spike comes across an ants nest, he digs his way in with his strong little claws. He then gathers up the ants with his long sticky tongue. He doesn't have any teeth because he doesn't need them. Because his tongue is so sticky, Spike manages to eat a lot of dirt and sand too but this does not seem to bother him - as long as there are plenty of ants as well.

Echidnas are found all over Australia. They don't seem to have fixed nest sites, but take shelter under piles of debris, or in logs or vacant burrows. The female amazingly lays a single egg into her own pouch. In about 10 days the egg hatches and the baby spends the next three months in the pouch. But the baby's spines begin to grow and eventually the mother removes the prickly baby from the pouch.

When Spike is nervous he digs down underneath himself with his powerful paws and sinks gracefully down into the ground like a sinking ship, where he is safe from harm. If there is no soil, he will curl up into a tight ball of radiating spines. He can wedge himself tightly and securely into crevices or hollow logs by bracing him with his spines and limbs.

However Spike doesn't seem to have many worries, and he waddles about, sticking his snout into any place where there is likely to be some ants.

Spike the Echidna is one of the stunning full bodied soft toy puppets designed by Peter Harris and inspired by the beautiful echidnas that roam around Secret Gully.