On Thursday 16 September, MCMC Administration Officer, Ray Radford was lucky enough to see a Platypus about 30cm long in the Thornbury/Coburg area of Merri Creek. Ray went to look after a couple of other reports at the same site and he was able to watch it for about 20 minutes while it hunted, swam, went in and out of its refuge and even had a scratch while on a rock.
Geoff Williams, from the Australian Platypus Conservancy, said: “As far as we are concerned, this is the first really confirmed record for Merri Creek itself since the Australian Platypus Conservancy conducted trapping surveys (with negative results) in 1995."
Based on known movement patterns at this time of the year, Geoff thinks that this platypus is either an adult male travelling around very widely in search of potential mates, or it is a young animal from last summer's breeding season which is still dispersing from farther upstream in the Yarra system and is checking out vacant territories. Because of the relatively high flow in the main river over the last couple of weeks there would also be the incentive of making use of the tributaries. As it has been described as a fairly small animal, he's leaning to the likelihood that it is a disperser - although size can sometimes be a bit deceptive.
If you site a platypus or a water rat, please report it to the Australian Platypus Conservancy through the link on their website: www.platypus.asn.au