This endemic Australian animal is an unusual mammal as it lays eggs, provides milk to their young directly through the skin, and is toothless. Also known as the ‘duck-billed’ platypus, they use their soft fleshy bill to sort through the debris and substrate at the bottom of wetlands, lakes and rivers. With a sideways head shaking motion they sift through material to find insects, crustaceans and worms, which they crush between two horny plates before ingesting.
Another unusual feature is the sharp spurs behind the hind legs of male platypus. These spurs are used for defence against predators, and injecting venom while inflicting a nasty wounds. Platypus are common in wetlands of the Derwent estuary, with up to five individuals sighted at the one time in Murphy’s Flat wetlands. They dig long and winding burrows in muddy banks where they rest and breed. Platypus are most often sighted swimming on the water’s surface, but will quickly disappear underwater when disturbed.