When Against A Raging Bushfire The Echidnas Will Simply Go To Sleep

Grace Higgins | January 18th, 2020

In the tinder-dry Australia which is currently so much on the news due to the huge bushfires raging the country, one animal has figured out a survival technique that has fascinated biologists for decades. Wildfire can tear through any sort of vegetation in minutes and grow at terrifying speeds, the fires incinerate nearly everything in their path and leave behind a black desert of char.

bbci.co.uk

Most animals have a fear of fire that is ingrained in their brain, this will lead them to try to outrun the blaze for survival. There is however one strange anteater that has a very peculiar tactic when it comes to surviving the fires, it just does nothing and goes to sleep.

The short-beaked echidnas, which look like bigger hedgehogs that lay eggs and survive off eating insects with their massive sticky tongues, can enter a hibernation technique which is referred to as torpor. This is a state that many animals can enter, it is used to conserve energy. When the echidnas enter torpor, they can reduce their metabolic rate and lower their body temperature massively.

Torpor also lets them survive massive fires, it is one of the reasons the creature is still alive today as its ancestors were able to survive. It was first discovered in 2013 after the terrible fire that swept all through the Warrumbungle Nation Park, Julia Nowack a biologist from the University of New England studied the aftermath the fire had on the local wildlife. And she noticed with her colleagues that the prickle insect eaters were still running around quite normally, they were among the survivors as if nothing had happened.

Echidnas can do this because of they when faced with fire they burrow down into the ground, and because they enter a state of torpor, they do not need as much oxygen to survive. Torpor also allows them to save precious energy while they wait for insects to return to the areas burnt down by the fires. It is odd because most examples of torpor being used to survive extreme regions are in places where it becomes very cold, during a deep freeze food can be scarce and it takes even more energy to just keep the body warm.

As it seems the echidnas have figured out how to apply this strategy to survive extreme heat.

Next Article
  • A Violent Attack That Created A Math Genius

    A salesman by the name of Jason Padgett from Futon did not care about anything apart from chasing girls and partying, until one crazy night that changed anything. Jason Padgett is now a maths genius, he sees math everywhere. No matter what he is doing he will see certain connections with mathematics. If he turns...

    Read More
  • NFL Names All-Decade Team

    In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has all sports at a standstill, the NFL selected the All-Decade team for the 2010s, which featured eight unanimous selections. The selection committee consisted of 48 Hall of Fame members who all agreed on the decade brilliance of Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Aaron...

    Read More
  • How The USSR Helped Fund A Small Bridge In South West Virginia

    Near the border of Kentucky in South West Virginia there is a very small community called Vulcan. It is actually an unincorporated community that was built up as a coal mining town. However in the early 1960s all the mines dried up and the community fell into economic problems. Many simply left to find jobs...

    Read More
  • Svalbard The Norwegian Archipelago Is Visa Free

    Svalbard is the Norwegian archipelago if you translate the name of the place it is called “cold edge.” Which makes a lot of sense as it is very cold and at the edge of the world. It is famous as it is one of the only places in the world that is entirely visa-free. Situated...

    Read More
  • Kevin Durant And Other Players To Compete In 2k Tournament

    With the recent shutdown of all sports, 2k and the National Basketball Players Association has partnered to air an NBA 2k tournament between players on ESPN. The tournament will start on Friday, April 3rd, from 7-8:30 p.m. on ESPN and then switch to ESPN2 from 8:30-11:30 p.m. No games will take place on Saturday, but...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious Blue People Of Kentucky

    The year is 1820 and one young couple has just arrived in a place called Troublesome Creek. This was a remote and small settlement deep in eastern Kentucky - the American dream of the New World. Martin Fugate is a French orphan and his wife is a red-haired woman called Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth is very...

    Read More
  • The Greek Drachma Currency Was Used For Over 3,000 Years

    The drachma, as was called the Greek currency before implementing the Euro was one of the most widely circulated coins in the world. This is because the Greek currency has existed long before the formation of Greece as we know today. The drachma was used in the world during the time of Alexander the Great....

    Read More
  • Giraffe Only Sleep 30 Minutes Every Day

    If you like your beauty sleep and lazy Sundays, well, you better hope that you are not a giraffe. Giraffes are one of the only mammals that you will probably never catch sleeping. This is because despite being the tallest animal on the whole planet, they have the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal. The...

    Read More