The short-beaked echidna doesn't exactly have the look of a master swimmer, does it?

These quirky and elusive little animals are found only in Australia and Tasmania (you'll find their long-beaked and critically endangered cousins in New Guinea), and to the rest of the world they're basically a spine-covered enigma ... with surprising swimming skills!

This little guy was spotted treading water in the Hopkins River in Victoria earlier this month. “It didn't get far – it was paddling really hard and fast against the current and then it cruised back onto the bank and headed into the bushes," a local told Queensland Country Life.

Also known as the "spiny anteater", the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) is a nipple-less little monotreme (that's the egg-laying mammal group echidnas share with platypuses), and it's pretty much as odd as the planet's creatures get – from its strange mating habits and bizarre genitalia (if you're curious – and we know you are – proof awaits here), to the "milk patches" it uses to feed its puggle progeny.

And it turns out that along with guzzling up ants with their six-inch tongues, swimming is on the list of things echidnas do really well, heading for the water more often than you'd think (the Australia Zoo even has a special "echidna swimming pool"). 

The animals can cruise along at surprising speed with just the snorkel-like snout and a few spines exposed above the water, usually going for a dip to groom and to cool off when temperatures soar. Just earlier this month, another echidna was caught on camera bobbing in the sea near Melbourne:

Top header image: Laurence Barnes, Flickr