KEEP AN EYE OUT: Juvenile platypuses have begun to emerge from their nursery burrows around most creeks on the North Coast in February and can become
KEEP AN EYE OUT: Juvenile platypuses have begun to emerge from their nursery burrows around most creeks on the North Coast in February and can become "lost" due to their naivety.

Adorable! Gorgeous! But lost baby platypus need your help

DID you know that platypuses don't have facial expressions, making it extremely hard to see their distress?

This makes it difficult to decide whether a lost animal requires rescuing or care.

As juvenile platypuses have recently begun emerging from their nursery burrows in many parts of the country, an Australian Platypus Conservancy biologist, Dr Melody Serena, said it was important to be on the lookout for any "lost" babies.

"These youngsters are inexperienced and naive," Dr Serena said.

"Inevitably, some end up in inappropriate localities such as puddles in the middle of farm paddocks, suburban swimming pools or the brackish margins of estuaries.

"If you do find a lost platypus, remember that they are wild animals with specialised living requirements. It is inappropriate and illegal to take one home and try to keep it as a pet … the animal will not survive the experience."

If a platypus found in an unusual place and appeared to be alert and active, the spokesman said it should be immediately taken to the nearest creek or river holding substantial water and released so it can begin feeding

"Dog owners are to be reminded that young platypuses often spend time playing around in shallow water or exploring along the river bank," she said

"At this time of the year, it's an especially good idea to keep dogs on leash when in waterside areas."

A WIRES Spokeswoman said juvenile platypuses inhabited most North Coast creeks and began to emerge from their nursery burrows in February.

She said, while WIRES suspected platypus populations were affected by the recent bushfires, the organisation hadn't had any calls directly relating to platypus and the bushfires.

"We did have calls due to the drought where creeks and water holes were drying up," she said.

"We also had a few calls regarding juvenile platypus in Northern Rivers area during recent floods."

Echoing the Australian Platypus Conservancy's message to keep an eye out for the lost monotremes she said baby platypuses were inexperienced and inquisitive and could end up in some unusual places.

"Males, in particular may leave the water source in search of another," she said.

She said the platypus would be stressed and in shock after being picked up.

"Be extremely careful if you have to pick up a platypus, males have a spur, located on their hind ankles which can cause extreme pain.

"While the venom is not considered to be life-threatening to humans, it can cause excruciating pain and spectacular swelling."

Please call WIRES on 66281898 for information if you come across a distressed platypus.



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