Platypus are a unique aquatic animal that can often be seen in the Yarra River at Banyle Flats and Westerfolds Park. The suspension bridge over the Yarra at Finns Reserve (below) is a particulary reliable spot to see them.
Platypus are one of two egg laying mammals, the other being the echidna. They have no teeth and locate prey using elctrorecptors in their bill that detect electric fields. Male platypus have spurs with venom in their hind legs. Platypus are unusual because they are from a group that went their own way early in the evolution of mammals. They are not more primitive or more closely related to birds. They are just different.
Our October (2021) speaker Josh Griffiths covered platypus biology, and the impacts climate change and pollution. He also detailed new DNA based survey methods that are making platypus detection easier. More about Josh's work and his publications can be found Cesar Australia's website.