Our local swimming hole is used by many locals on a hot summers day.
January 22 was one such day with temperatures just over 30 degrees.
A local family was taking a cool swim when Tom noticed a tiny bundle on the bank. He want to investigate and found this little 250 gram juvenile male Platypus.
Tom took immediate action and brought the little fellow to us here at Wildlife Mountain.
The poor animal was a sorry sight, he was very thin and extremely dehydrated.
He was taken to Lismore vet clinic straight away and x-rayed. Nothing unusual was to be seen, and his lungs were clear, his breathing was labored but no sign of pneumonia. His body temperature was however very low.
He was rehydrated and as fast as we could give him fluid it was absorbed, sadly he died 6 hours after being found.
His stage of development was border line of being independent and still needing his mum. By the state he was in I suspect he had lost mum some time ago and had not been able to feed himself.
Poor little fellow, so sad an end for such a beautiful animal.
Platypus found during floods
January was hot and dry, temperatures soaring, the threat of bush fire on ones mind most of the time as parts of the country experienced horrific fires. Daily warnings of extreme bush fire danger.
Late January the weather took a dramatic turn and the local weather warnings changed to severe weather alerts of possible floods and high winds as Cyclone Oswald slowly made its way down the east coast of Australia leaving floods and destruction in its path along the coast.
October- February is when Platypus have young in burrows along our rivers and creeks, not a good time for these animals as well as all others to encounter a flood as the little ones have little or no chance to escape the rising water, entering burrows constructed just above the normal water level.
For this little fellow it proved disastrous, he was found dragging himself along in long grass away from a creek that was rising fast, water rushing with debris such as trees, logs and anything else that was in the waters path.
I am always amazed when I see people wading through flood water, they do not seem to realize just how dangerous it can be, the current is usually strong and you have no idea what is below the surface heading towards you.
The little Platypus was found by the property owner who called for help, realising the little fellow was unable to walk he knew it was in need of assistance. He was taken to the vet and x-rays revealed that he had no broken bones, but fact remained that he was unable to use the lower half of his body.
The vet seemed to think that he may be just bruised and sore, could possibly have been hit by a log in the fast moving creek, a few days may improve his situation so he was given pain medication and taken in to care.
Unfortunately he did not improve, over the next 12 hours he deteriorated and he died after less than 24 hours in care. Internal injuries were found after his demise.
Wild animals do not show when they are in pain, they are easy prey in the wild if any disability is visible. We must always remember that any animal will feel pain just the same as we would with a similar injury, something that is sadly still not recognised by many, the animal seems fine surely we would be able to see if it was in pain!!!!!!
Weighing just 480 gram this little Platypus would only recently have become independent from his mum about to embark on the adventures of life.
This land of extremes is beautiful, can be peaceful one minute and change the next to reminds us of who is master.
Platypus in care
26 January 2008
Northern NSW has once again experienced major flooding, this has brought a juvenile Platypus in to care at Wildlife Mountain. It is a 4 month old female, too young to fend for herself. She was found on the bank of a flooded river, exhausted and undernourished.
She was checked at Lismore Vet clinic by Vet Richard Creed and found to have no injuries.
Being so young she is still dependant on mums milk, only just starting to learn how to hunt and eat solid food, this she would learn from her mum. We now have the task of teaching her how to do this for herself.
She is still fed formula, this can be quite a challenge in itself, let alone finding the live food she needs to sustain life and grow whilst in care. She is occupying the enclosure we built last year when we received the Platypus you can read about below, and once again we are spending a few hours by the creek, catching very small cray fish. Today was her first introduction to the water now with live baby cray's, she did not seem impressed and she scampered back in to her burrow at full speed.
We are very much aware that most Australians will never see a Platypus, let alone have such close contact with one. Caring for one is such a privilege, one we take very seriously, and we will do everything we possibly can to ensure her safe return back to the wild when the time comes.
UPDATE February 2008
It is with great sadness that I have to let you all know that our little Platypus did not survive.
She died 3 weeks after arrival, due to an infection most likely picked up from the flood waters when she was orphaned.
4th January 2007
This juvenile Platypus is currently in care at Wildlife Mountain, having been found on
the bank of a creek, unresponsive and covered in ticks.Mandy found this little male
in the afternoon, and called for help.
He was taken to the Lismore
vet clinic for treatment for the ticks, and also given fluid for
The following morning it became
apparent that he was also suffering from Pneumonia, and is now
being treated for that.
He is currently being tube fed
as he is too weak to eat by himself.
We will keep you informed of his
20 January 2007
Platypus has finally been released after
15 days in care. He was tube fed for about a week, before the
antibiotics took care of his Pneumonia, he started to gain strength, and able to self feed.
that he would actually eat was a challenge in itself, he would
turn his bill up at just about everything he was supposed to like,
but we did eventually find his favorite, small crayfish from our
creek. It became a daily trek down to the creek finding cray fish.
That was not too hard as there is plenty down there, and we came
up with a successful way of catching them.
Housing a Platypus was something
we had never had to do, so a new enclosure was constructed in
a hurry. This became a challenge, as Platypuses do not have an
enclosure even close to any other animal we had previously had
in care. He needed a burrow,complete with resting and sleeping
nest at one end, and access to the water at the other.
Help was at hand from David Fleay's Wildlife
Park in SE Queensland, where they have raised Platypus in the
past. We were instructed on how to make an enclosure, and how
to set it up, which we did, and Platypus loved it. Here he was
able to go for a swim and hunt for food put in daily. Having food
in a small area, meant that the water had to be changed daily,
and new food supplied.
Images above show him
about to enter his constructed burrow.
On a totally different note, but to show
you what happens when you are dealing with animals and live in
the bush, image below shows our resident carpet python looking out from the roof of
what is happening.
Nothing much escapes his attention, which is
why we must ensure all animals have enclosures that are totally
An easy meal would very much be appreciated
by out local friend, but he has to catch his own, and in the bush
there is never a shortage of food for a hungry python. As long
as it is not our sick or orphaned charges he stalks, he is left
to his own devises.
Releasing Platypus was a great experience,
having had him in care for this amount of time, the release time
had to be chosen carefully.
The day was chosen due to the moon
being dark, predators would be less on a dark moon, the day was
overcast, and slight rain had fallen in the morning.
We took him to the release site early in
the afternoon. As I put him on the rocks by the water,
he did not take many seconds before he slid in to the water, his
excitement was clearly visible as
he made his way through the water staying close to the bank of
the creek, his bill searching out food. He came back to me a few times, then he
entered the deeper water, and once having assured himself that
he was indeed free, he did not come close to me again.
I can imagine him thinking : she is not going
to put me back in that enclosure, I'm staying out of her reach.
We stayed and watched him
some time, until he made his way up a slight slope on the embankment
and disappeared in to the reeds. He stuck his beak in to the water
a few times, cleaning his cheek pouches of food scraps as they do
after eating, and he then did not show himself again.
We decided to leave him in peace to enjoy
Video of his release
Being able to help this little fellow back
to the wild was indeed a pleasure, we have in the process
learnt so much, spoken to some very dedicated people helping these
animals survive in a ever decreasing natural environment.
I would like to thank staff from Flay's
Wildlife park in SE Queensland and staff from Australia Zoo who
were a great help with information on how to care for this Platypus,
and help on how best to release him.
Having had the experience
of caring for this unique animal has been a privilege, one I will
treasure.They rarely come in to care, and when they
do often their injuries are so severe that they can not be saved.
Images by Alicia Carter
In January Northern NSW
received a large amount of rainfall, enough to create flood conditions
in many areas, including the river system where this juvenile
Platypus was found.
When a creek or river floods
in a situation like this, 300 millimeters in less than 24 hours,
the rush of the water is frightening to say the least, huge trees,
boulders, branches, anything that can move gets pushed along in
the water at amazing speed.
2 young gentlemen were
out in their canoe in the receding flood waters, when they spotted
this young Platypus washed up on the
bank of the creek. Realising it was in trouble and only a juvenile
they collected it, wrapped it in something warm and called for
help as soon as they got home.
Receiving this animal in
to care early that evening, we realised how little we knew about
this species, and how little is actually available on how to care
for them, even within wildlife care groups.
We made numerous phone
calls that evening trying to find information on age, feeding
procedures, temperature if any to keep it at , in fact anything
at all to help this young 358 gram animal, so obviously in trouble.
It had a great number of ticks all over its body, and I was worried
by a rattle on its chest when breathing.
We did receive quite a
lot of information over the phone, specially on older Platypus,
but not enough to feel confident that we were able to give the
care needed for this very young Platypus to recover, and eventually
release it back to the wild.
Now to find the right place
to take it to.
That did not prove too
difficult, all the people we had spoken to referred us back to
the same place, Fleays Fauna park in Southern Queensland, and
in particular one lady, that have successfully reared Platypus
in the past. Unfortunately she was not available on this particular
day, so it was recommended that we take our little orphan to Currumbin
Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital, also in Southern Qld. Here it would
be placed in intensive care untill the Platypus carer could be
contacted to take charge of the little critter.
We received a phone call
4 days later, that our little orphan could come home, she had
recovered from exhaustion, her breathing was normal, and she was
I drove back up to Currumbin,
and was extremely grateful to be taught how to assess and care
for this species.Very few people
have had success in hand rearing Platypus, this lady has, and
willingly passed on her knowledge.
The release process had
to be adhered to making sure this little orphan would have the
best chance of survival. We would have to find a spot where we
would be able to monitor her progress over the next month with
plenty of food, and cover for her to hide under when out in the
Our Platypus turned out
to be a female, 4 months old. At this age they have emerged from
the burrow, and are now independent of the parent. She was however
not yet able to dig her own burrow, so we had to supply her an
artificial one, this was done without delay, and our little orphan
was released that same evening at dusk. We made our way through
the dense bush reaching the creek, the water still quite high
from the recent floods, waded through the water up to our chest
to reach the other side of the bank, where the undergrowth was
thick enough to place her artificial burrow hidden from predators,
yet giving her easy access to the water.When
placing her inside the burrow she did not take long to explore
her new surroundings, then slide quietly out, make her way in
to the water.
What a thrill to watch her
swim close to the bank exploring, once again wild and free
early february 2001, the North Coast of NSW experienced major flooding.
Not only do floods wreak havoc on the lives of human beings, they
have major impact on our fragile wildlife.
this time of the year young Platypus,
also known as puggles, are just starting to emerge from their burrows,
but are still very much dependant on their mother and the safety
of the burrow.
though Platypus builds their burrows up to 20 meters into the riverbank
( prior to laying eggs) they can not escape the rapid rising of
the river in a flood.
Platypus are such secretive animals I guess we rarely would give
them a second thought when the water is rising, but if you are
fortunate enough to live near a creek where platypus are known
to live, PLEASE think about it, they may be in big trouble.
little Platypus were the unfortunate victims of this flood.Weighing
257 and 240 gram respectively, they were found 24 hours apart, washed
up in a puddle on a small dirt road leading into pristine rain forest,
the only way to describe the scenery would be paradise, waterfalls
on 3 sides, spectacular views.
imagine their burrow may have been further up the embankment as
the road was cut in to the hillside, the creek further down, and
thick vegetation covering everything, except the road itself.
searched for the burrow but our search was futile, in reality they
could have traveled a fair distance down the hill, swept by the
torrent of water coming out of the hills surrounding us.
the little female did not survive more then a day, she had internal
took the male to Flays Wildlife Park as they have vast knowledge
in the care of these animals, but he also died after a few days
in care.I believe internal injuries again was the cause
picture was taken after the floods subsided, and where the family
of these little Platypus live.
Is there anything we can do to help these
animals survive in the future? Yes.
Where possible leave trees
or other vegetation around creeks, waterhole's and dams. If clearing
willows, resist the temptation to 'clean up the river', make sure
blackwood, tea tree or other plants replace them.
Keep farm or household chemicals such as
pesticides away from areas where platypus may be found. Do not
use pesticides if there is a chance of rain as they may be washed
into creeks before they have soaked in. Use bridges rather than
culverts on new tracks or roads. Platypus will not swim through
culverts as the water flow is to uniform. They will cross the
road instead and are often hit by traffic while doing so.
Parks and Wildlife service Tasmania