On the Twelfth Day of Christmas I Finally Got to See

Twelve Platypus Playing,
Eleven Mantas Mingling,
Ten Turtles Tapping,
Nine Whale Sharks Waiting,
Eight Dingos Digging,
Seven Cassowaries,
Six Emus Eating,
Five Great White Sharks,
Four Koalas Cuddling,
Three Snapping Crocs, 
Two Red Kangaroos,
And a Kookaburra in a Gum Tree

Back in 1798 when the Platypus was first discovered, british scientists thought they were a hoax created by putting different animals together! The body of an otter, webbed feet like a duck and a tail like a beaver, yeah right this can’t be a real animal. How wrong they were as they are very real and SUPER CUTE. I couldn’t wait to see one of these gorgeous creatures for myself. Not only are they super cute, but their babies are called… PUGGLES.

In the days we spent patiently waiting to catch a glimpse of a platypus, we learnt a lot about them. The males actually have a venomous spur on their hind legs for protection, I most certainly won’t be cuddling them any time soon. Why is everything in Australia venomous? Only one of three mammals that can produce venom, the other two are the slow loris and European mole.

Believe it or not they have a very big similarity to that of a Great White Shark. They both use electroreception to target their prey. Platypus always kick up a lot of dirt when eating or playing making the visibility pretty poor. Electroreception allows them to detect natural electrical stimuli in the environment around them to help find what they need.

Playtpus swimming along the surface of Broken River.
Platypus swimming on the surface

Who knows how successful they are with these kryptonic abilities as they do spend around 12 hours a day in the water looking for food.

If you have ever been snorkelling, you’ll know that after around 45 mins you might start to get cold even with a wet suit on. So how do these little cuties manage to keep warm? To help keep them toasty they have two layers of fur where air can then get trapped between the two layers. The trapped air allows them to stay buoyant, dry and warm while underwater. That 12 hours a day looking for food in the water doesn’t seem as daunting now does it.

Even though they spend so much time in the water, they actually live inside tiny burrows in the riverbanks, hidden well away from predators. Despite being a mammal, they lay eggs within the burrows they have created. This makes them a monotreme, one of only 5 species of monotreme left in the world!

Platypus swimming along the surface of Broken River.
Another platypus swimming on the surface

Where can you find the elusive Platypus?

There are a few top spots that are known to home paddles of platypus.

Broken River, Eungella National Park, QLD

Yungaburra, Atherton Tablelands, QLD

Lake Elizabeth, VIC

Blue Lake, Jenolan Caves, NSW

We didn’t have time to visit it all of them and we had read so many great things about sightings in Eungella, so off we went!

The endangered platypus is a little bit trickier to locate but don’t fret I have the perfect place for you to find one. All you need is a little bit of patience. Broken River in Eungella National Park has the perfect set up for platypus viewing with 22km of walking trails to explore. We walked around for hours in search of these little creatures with no luck, a bit disappointed we headed back to the campsite and right there behind our van was a tiny Platypus playing in the water!! After all that time they were right there at the Broken Hill campsite. After our first sighting, we were up the next morning and all the platypus were there to greet us! I didn’t want to leave they are all so adorable.

A top tip is to keep an eye out for lines of bubbles in the water just like in the photo below. This is when they are swimming along the river bed between the weeds and grass. When they do this air is released from the along the river bed creating a path of bubbles!

The bubble path created on the waters surface by a Platypus.
The bubble trail to help you find a platypus!

As with most animals in the Southern Hemisphere the best time to spot these critters is at dawn or dusk, but the trick with these guys is to stay quiet and patient. I promise you they are there you just need to live like a take that song and ‘Have a little patienceeeeee’

One thought on “On the Twelfth Day of Christmas I Finally Got to See

  1. Pingback: Lake Elizabeth Walking Trail – Her Wild Habit | Travel and Outdoor Adventures

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