Can you spot a platypus?

Girl using binoculars to search river for signs of platypus

August is Platypus Month and the response to a campaign to find volunteer spotters has been so successful Waterwatch is considering adding more sites in 2018.

“So many people are keen to be involved. It’s fantastic,” said Woo O’Reilly, Regional Waterwatch Facilitator.

“We have more than enough volunteers now for this year’s sessions but, with our expanding database of willing spotters, we’re likely to add some more sites to the survey for next year.”

She was quick to point out that platypus sightings are welcome any time and that August is a good time to see them.

“Late winter is the ideal time to spot platypus; they forage more as there is less food available and the males are out and about preparing for the breeding season.

“We need as much data as possible to get a better understanding of platypus numbers in rivers and creeks in the Canberra region.”

The platypus is a shy animal so often thought to only live in remote areas. In reality though, they can be found in many rivers and creeks in the ACT region. They have even been spotted in Lake Burley Griffin.

“It’s not their presence or absence that we’re looking at but rather the density of animals we find in a given stretch of river,” said Woo.

Sixteen formal surveys will be conducted in August at various locations, including Jerrabomberra Wetlands, the Molonglo Reach and on the Murrumbidgee River near Cooma.

If you spot a platypus, report the sighting to waterwatch@act.gov.au. Include the time, date, location and any notes about behaviour and habitat.

More information about Waterwatch and the various monitoring programs they conduct can be found on the website.

Waterwatch is supported by ACT Healthy Waterways, a joint initiative of the ACT and Australian governments to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.

Continue the conversation on social media by following us on Facebook and Twitter and using these hashtags #h2ok #acthealthywaterways #onlyraindownthestormwaterdrain