platypus

Ornithorhynchus anatinus

These very unusual mammals have webbed feet. Forefeet are used for swimming, the back feet as brakes and for steering. The bill of the Platypus is soft and very sensitive; the skin of the bill has touch receptors which are used to receive information about its surroundings, and is also sensitive to the slight electric currents generated by its prey. The eyes and ear apertures, as well as the nostrils are closed whilst under the water. The fur is long and sleek on top, but underneath has extremely thick underfur which remains dry.

The infant Platypus has milk teeth, but these are not replaced when shed. It is interesting to note that fossils found, indicate that the Platypus once upon a time had better developed teeth that were not shed. Food is collected in the water, being mainly invertebrates, both larval and adult, it is sifted from the bottom, stored in large cheek-pouches until it surfaces where whilst resting, the food is broken up between the tongue and the horny grinding plates and shearing ridges on the upper and lower jaws. Larger prey is eaten individually.

Breeding occurs in our local area around September, the female will lay 1 or 2 eggs which she incubates against her abdomen for about 2 weeks, she will at this stage be inside a blocked off nest at the end of a long burrow called a breeding burrow. The young Platypus will suckle the mother for 4 -5 months, milk is excreted through the skin on the abdomen, they have no teats.

How can you help Platypus survive into the future?
 
Please don’t disturb Platypus if they live in streams on your property or in your neighborhood.
 
Plant or protect natural plants along watercourses, doing this will protect banks and will provide areas for the platypus to live.
 
Don’t use yabby traps to catch yabbies in freshwater streams. Platypus are often the victims found drowned in these traps.
 
Clean up streams by removing broken bottles and rubbish.
 
Keep your dogs on a leash if walking them near Platypus habitat, do not let them dig into the creek bank.