Not fishing for Platypus

PlatypusI was quite keen to see a platypus in country New South Wales when I was there over the weekend.  So I spent quite a bit of time down by the creek.

It is not hard to see why people like fishing in rivers. Just pottering about down by the water’s edge, particularly early in the morning or in the late afternoon is wonderful. There seems to be lot happening, although when put to it later, it is hard to think of anything of any moment.

Personally, I am not keen on fishing. But looking for platypuses passes very well as an activity. I am plainly no expert.  After really quite I while, all I had to boast of was a fleeting glimpse. It was not enough to allow much of a description; if I did not know what a platypus looks like, all I would have been able to tell you is that they are a foot or so long, brownish, and make quite a heavy plopping sound when they scurry into the water.  I checked carefully to make sure that I was not confusing them with the quite big lizard efforts which also live in the creek – but they make quite a different plopping sound when they scurry into the water.  Much slighter sort of a plop altogether.  In any event, my one sighting of a platypus was so short that there was not time at all to take a photograph.

dogsTo be ruthlessly analytical, platypus spotting is probably best done without the help of dogs. But my hosts’ dogs were so enthusiastic abp0ut the task, and such good company, that it was hard to send them home.

It is probably just as well that the dogs are not good at all at the platypus spotting thing, for platypuses are venomous – they carry a poisonous spur on their hind legs, which is not fatal, but said to be very painful. So if ever you are tempted to pour scorn on this curious aquatic creature, that is a mammal that lays eggs and has the bill of a duck, it might be best to do so from a distance.

timplatThere was no shortage of water in the creek – on the contrary, it poured with rain such that the creeks overflowed and several neighbours were trapped in their properties. It was the second such flooding event in 2 weeks. So much for Tim Flannery’s prediction that we were in for permanent drought! Perhaps they should make him Platypus Commissioner instead of Climate Change Commissioner?  He does look just a little bit like a platypus


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