Kevin the adorable baby echidna not even old enough to grow spikes is rescued from flood water
- National Parks worker driving to work when he saw what he thought was a doll
- Luckily, he stopped. It was a baby echidna, who would not have survived for long
- Puggle is now named after its rescuer, though there is a slight problem with that
A National Parks worker who rescued a baby echidna from floodwaters has had the honour of the puggle being named after him, though there was one slight issue with that.
Kevin Staker was driving to work near Menindee in outback NSW when something unusual caught his eye at the side of the road.
‘I looked out the mirror and saw this thing in the water. I thought it was actually a toy doll,’ Mr Staker told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I said to my mate, ‘What the hell is that?’ When I walked back I could see it shivering and knew it was alive.
‘I looked closer and realised it was a baby echidna. I couldn’t believe it really.’
Kevin Staker rescued a baby echidna (pictured) which at first he thought was a toy doll in the water
Though the species is reasonably common in the area, it was the first one Mr Staker had seen in the water in his 63 years there.
He didn’t think the puggle, who is likely to be less than two months old as echidnas do not start growing spikes until they are 50 days old, would have survived much longer.
‘It was cold and shaking, poor little thing. I took it to work and warmed it up in the sun.
‘It got real lively then, running around and trying to get down my shirt.’
Mr Staker said he ‘fell in love with’ the baby was called Kevin, after him.
‘It must have got used to me handling it because the minute someone would come near it, it would tuck itself back into me.
‘They’ve got the smoothest feet you’ve ever seen. Just like a baby’s feet. It like me rubbing it.’
Mr Staker knew of a group called Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals (RRANA) based in Broken Hill, 100km away that would be able to help the echidna.
He called RRANA and spoke with its president Lindy Hunt about Kevin.
Kevin Staker is pictured with the baby echidna, also called Kevin, who he rescued from floodwaters in outback NSW
‘It worked out well because one of my colleagues was going into Broken Hill that day for a course, so she took it in to the rescue joint,’ Mr Staker said.
Ms Hunt explained that adult echidnas are very good swimmers, but that Kevin was lucky he just made it to the edge, and his rescuer found him.
It was only the second puggle she had come across in her 19 years of volunteering with RRANA, but incredibly, she had only recently purchased a special echidna milk.
‘His little tongue comes out and he licks it and presses against your hand like he would his mum’s belly because they don’t have nipples,’ Ms Hunt told the ABC.
‘They’re the most amazing creatures.’
Kevin the baby echidna (pictured) will eventually be released back into the wild close to where it was found in Menindee
There was just one problem with calling the baby echidna Kevin – Mr Staker thought it was not male.
‘I said to the lady ‘I think it’s a female’, but she said you wouldn’t be able to tell at this age. They’ve got to give them an ultrasound to find out their sex.’
His instinct proved correct, baby Kevin is indeed a female.
Kevin is now in Dubbo at Taronga Plains Zoo, more than 700km east of where she was found, and is being looked after by specialist carers.
Mr Staker thought he would never see her again, but then was given some good news.
‘They’re going to bring her back here and release her where I found her. It was lovely (to hear that). It really did make my day,’ he said.