Platypus orphaned

January 2014

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

February 2013

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 dehydration.

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 progress.


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.

Finding food 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 snake proof.

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 for quite 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 his freedom.

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.



January 2006

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 eating well.

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 water.

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





Platypus & Floods

Katrina Ulyatt

In 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.
At 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.
Even 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.

As 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.


These 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.


I 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.
We 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.
Unfortunately the little female did not survive more then a day, she had internal injuries.
I 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
This 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




September 18, 2015


©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2015


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.

Webmaster Susanne Ulyatt