If you’re into the weirder side of nature – say, animals that resemble real-life Pokémon – chances are you need more echinda in your life. (If you're impatient, skip to 0:37.)

The rarely seen creature was filmed by freelance journalist and videographer Jane Hammond in the Dryandra Woodland nature reserve located in Western Australia. It took some time for the wary echidna to investigate the camera – but the resulting sniffing is the best thing to happen to our hump day. 

Echidnas are one of only four species of egg-laying mammals (monotremes) still around on our planet, and they belong to the same order as the better-known platypus. Found only in Australia and New Guinea, short-beaked echidnas survive on a diet of tasty ants and termites, while their long-beaked cousins prefer worms and insect larvae. 

Beaked, you say? While hatchlings (called "puggles"!) have an egg tooth for breaking out of the shell, adults like the one you see in the video lack teeth altogether. Instead, they use a hard, skin-covered beak to root around for grub. A sticky tongue helps them lap up quick-moving insects. 

Alien! A puggle emerges from its egg highly underdeveloped, and will spend the next 2 to 3 months in its mother's pouch. Image: CSIRO/YouTube
Lots of milk later, the pudgy babies start to develop their spines. Image: Taronga Zoo/YouTube

For obvious reasons, the animals are locally known as "porkies". However, while their protective spines certainly give echidnas a porcupine-esque appearance, they lack barbs and are never thrown from the body. What’s more, echidna spines are connected to tiny muscles, and the structures can actually be used to climb rocks, or for a bit of a boost if the animals find themselves flipped upside-down. To warm up on a cool morning, echidnas can also spread their spines to let in warm rays of sunlight. 

So there you have it: an animal with the eggs of a reptile, the beak of a bird, the pouch of a kangaroo and the spines of a hedgehog. Not weird enough? No problem. Echidnas also have a lifespan that rivals that of an elephant. Just how old these animals can get in the wild remains a mystery, but they've lived to the ripe old age of 58 in zoos. 


Top header image: Jane Hammond/screengrab