Spot the platypus!

August 20, 2014 • 1:09 pm

JAC: Matthew left me this as his final “gift” before his Lake District “hols.” It’s a gift in the same sense that a dead rodent left by your cat on the doorstep is a “gift.”  But based on this post, I’ve removed “seeing a platypus” from my bucket list.

by Matthew Cobb

No nightjars, no crabs, no killdeer. There’s a platypus somewhere in this photo by Dave Pope (@davpope on Tw*tter), who is a political cartoonist for The Canberra Times, and kindly allowed us to use the photo.

To be honest, this isn’t hard, it’s just supposed to show quite how difficult it is to see these elusive creatures. Dave’s Tw**t that accompanied the photo read: “The thrill of spotting a platypus is about 98% the idea of a platypus and 2% what you actually see”.

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45 thoughts on “Spot the platypus!

  1. I truly like the idea of having a bucket list, seeing the world what you want to see, doing the things what you want to do, what a great way to say “hi” and “good bye”! 🙂

  2. I was lucky enough in Oz (1991) to stumble across two platypuses cavorting in a small creek. I was just out for a little stroll and saw them completely by accident. It was somewhere in rural NSW.

  3. “The thrill of spotting a platypus is about 98% the idea of a platypus and 2% what you actually see”

    How apt. I have seen a platypus on several occasions, and each time it consisted of just what is seen in this photo – a splash as it disappears below the surface.

    1. I’ve seen them in zoos & aquaria in Australia and they are cute little things. Big with kids too!

    2. I’ve only seen them ‘in real life’ at the zoo. I sorta agree with that quote and sorta don’t. In terms of size, I was very disappointed. But in terms of shape and behavior, it was pretty much what I was expecting and hoping to see, and that did not disappoint.

      1. Did you think they would be bigger or smaller? When I first saw a kiwi, I was surprised they were so big. I imagined them the size of blue jays. When my nana saw a squirrel, she thought they’d be bigger – the size of cats.

  4. Look at the rushes along the front with the feathery heads (toitoi in Maori). Just above and slightly to the right there’s a head sticking out of the water.

    1. I don’t think that’s it. I think that’s a reflection of the rushes on the far shore.

      I’m going with the splash, but I have only secondhand hearsay evidence that it’s a platypus. For all I can tell from this low-res photo, it could be a crockoduck.

  5. Platypus are also mostly nocturnal which doesn’t help. But if you come to Melbourne we have some in the zoo which may be feeling accommodating.

  6. As others have mentioned this is the typical view of a wild platypus but one time I was lucky enough to see one while I was standing on a high bridge over the water. This afforded great views of the little guy gadding about in the billabong below.

      1. You don’t know the Australian national anthem, Waltzing Matilda?
        Once a jolly swagman
        Camped by a billabong…

          1. Well yeah, although (like most such) much better and more tuneful than the official anthem. (To be fair, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ is musically one of the better official anthems IMO, not nearly so cringe-inducing as most countries’ efforts).

    1. Me too, on the old suspension bridge at Kangaroo Valley when I was a kid.
      But you get a much better view through the glass at Taronga Zoo.

    1. That should have been attached to my comment about Waltzing Matilda above… oh for an Edit function in WP… 🙁

    2. There’s a multi- storey parking garage in downtown Chicago ( near Second City, if I remember correctly) in which each floor is named after a different country and that country’s national anthem is blasted from speakers. We got off the elevator when we heard Waltzing Matilda. Much easier to remember than P3 or some such.

        1. You’re probably right. It was fun the once. I like how the Toronto Zoo’s parking lot has sctions named after various animals, and Roy Thomson Hall after (quiet) instruments.

  7. I wonder if it’s “Black Pond” where I spotted numerous platypus; I think it’s one of the few places where you get a sign telling you there are platypus around, but you see platypus in a few rivers around the area if you know where to look. If you hang around long enough you see a little beak poke out of the water for a quick breath of air; these beasts can sure stay under water for long periods. I wonder how they compare to seals in a breath holding competition.

  8. Best time to see a wild platypus is before dawn. Ask around to find out where the little beasties have been seen. Find a comfy spot on the shore that gives you a good view of the water, set yourself up there before dawn and sit still and make no noise. Be prepared to stay that way for up to an hour.

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