Victor the echidna came to the Zoo with a secret. He wasn’t what he seemed to be.
  • 1950s
  • 2000s

Victor had a different name when he first came to the Zoo. He arrived as a large adult with the name Erma—and a male companion named Eddie—in 1956. Not much was known about these animals at that time, and sex determination is not easy with an echidna. So, Erma and Eddie lived a peaceful life in the Children’s Zoo where visitors of all ages and sizes got a close look at them and chance to touch a puzzling Australian animal. Although it was hoped the pair would reproduce, they never did.

Decades passed, and in the 1990s, one of the keepers pondered the fact that Erma seemed to be larger than most female echidnas she knew of. A cloacal examination was performed at the Zoo hospital—revealing that Erma was actually a male! With a bit of humor, Erma was renamed Victor/Victoria, after the popular movie about switching gender roles.

The new information didn’t change anyone’s mind about the mysterious monotreme (egg-laying mammal). Victor continued to meet and mesmerize schoolchildren, tour groups, and the public. And when they visited the Zoo, Victor was even introduced to Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews—the director and star of Victor/Victoria.

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