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.

 

 

 

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.
Reference:

Parks and Wildlife service Tasmania

 

 

 

January 23, 2014

 
 
 

©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2014

 

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.

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