Friday, 25 July 2014

Platypus - Bombala River, South Eastern Australia

It is pretty unusual to find a platypus in the wild - although they live in a number of Australian streams and rivers, they are timid and can be difficult to spot.  They do not survive in zoos - and there are none presently outside Australia.

The Bombala River offers some good opportunities to see these creatures - although you will probably need binoculars and be very quiet.  When in the water - as here - their fur is slick - and it is easy to mistake closable ear holes for eyes.





eye shut - ears still open


When swimming near or on top of water, a platypus will probably be first detected as a series of regular ripples.  It will sometimes fight a current on the surface - or swim in circles.  A quick glance might suggest a small broken branch - but the ripples are pretty distinctive.  



Just before diving, the platypus closes its eyes and ears and bends in the middle.  It then shoots away very quickly.  Under water it is very fast, hunting using electrical sensors.










Peter Quinton
Palerang
July 2014


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