ACT News


Easy to spot, but Casper should be all white in wild

Casper the albino echidna will be released into the wild today after a fortnight of recuperation with a Canberra RSPCA carer.

But the formidable adult monotreme won't be an easy meal despite his obvious lack of camouflage.

ACT RSPCA executive manager of wildlife services Glenn Howie said being pale, and more visible, in the wild probably hadn't been too detrimental to Casper's survival prospects.

''They don't get attacked by too many things … you can see why,'' Mr Howie said, looking at Casper's pale, but no less threatening, spines.

Casper was picked up by RSPCA carer Lee Newton two weeks ago after a motorist noticed him in a distressed state by the side of a road in Pialligo.

Mrs Newton said echidnas would usually ''burrow down'' when stressed, digging straight into the ground on which they're standing and completely submerging their soft parts.


''I had to dig around the side of him and was finally able to pick him up by his back leg,'' Mrs Newton said.

''If we hadn't been called, he likely would have wandered onto the road and been hit by cars.''

RSPCA ACT chief executive Michael Linke said it was extremely rare to see echidnas, let alone albinos, coming into the shelter.

Mr Linke said the RSPCA received no more than a couple of injured or distressed echidnas every year of the 3000 native animals brought into the ACT branch and it was the first time he had seen an albino echidna.

Echidnas are most likely to be seen in suburbs and the bush during breeding season between July and September in ''love trains''.

The echidnas lined up nose to tail in this odd dance of courtship.

Hopefully, such a future awaits Casper in his new home.

Casper will be released at Tidbinbilla nature reserve, about 40 minutes' drive from Canberra city.

Usually, the RSPCA prefers to release injured wildlife in the same areas in which they are found. But as Casper was found on a busy road Mr Linke said the ACT Government-run Tidbinbilla would make a much safer home.

Mrs Newton said she would be happy to see Casper released.

''I always love seeing them go,'' she said. ''Because you know they're going back to where they belong''.

To report injured wildlife in the ACT to the RSPCA call 6287 8113, other state numbers can be found at