© Canva NFP

Home 9 platy-project 2023

Take part in the ACF platy-project month of action and you’ll help researchers understand more about this elusive animal and how we can better protect it.

This September, Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch is partnering with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to promote platypus conservation.

Because platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) are shy and secretive, we still have surprising gaps in our understanding of where they live. This makes it harder for scientists and conservationists to advocate for their protection — even as habitat destruction, bushfires, drought and pollution drive down platypus numbers.

You can help fill these gaps …

Participate in the ACF platy-project month of action this September by joining a PlatypusWatch Walk & Talk event or looking for platypuses in a Queensland waterway near you and recording what you see.

Head to the ACF platy-project web page for more information on how to get involved. 

Register for our PlatypusWatch Walk & Talk events below.

Platypus eDNA surveys© Wildlife Qld

Wildlife Queensland’s PlatypusWatch project officers conducting eDNA sampling.

Platypus sightings across Queensland are decreasing and have been for two decades now.

Encouraging Queenslanders to revisit local waterways where historical sightings were made, or to help survey new locations, will enable researchers to determine whether platypuses are now locally extinct in some habitats they used to frequent.

Whether you see a platypus in September or not, you’ll make a big contribution to platypus science and conservation efforts. You will also have a great time observing, appreciating and being out in nature. 

Tamielle Brunt

PlatypusWatch Project Officer, Wildlife Queensland

PlatypusWatch Walk & Talk events

Join us for a FREE PlatypusWatch Walk & Talk as part of platy-project month this September! Proudly supported by Brisbane City Council.

PlatypusWatch project officer Tamielle Brunt will talk about this amazing animal as well as the research happening in Brisbane. You will also learn more about the ACF platy-project where you can help monitor platypuses and record valuable data.

Click on the links below to register via Eventbrite.

8 September, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Platypus Spotting in Brisbane

Wendon Way Park 51-55 Wendon Way, Bridgeman Downs, QLD


15 September, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Platypus Spotting in Brisbane
Pullenvale Forest Park 531A Pullenvale Road, Pullenvale, QLD


22 September, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Platypus Spotting in Brisbane
Platypus Spotting in Brisbane© Brisbane City Council

Moggill Creek Site 
Brookfield, QLD


29 September, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Platypus Spotting in Brisbane

Large carpark area 74-84 Sanananda St, Wacol, QLD


Top platypus-spotting tips

Platypus survey Coomera River© Wildlife Qld

Coomera River, Queensland, 2022.

Given the platypus’s odd appearance, with its bill, webbed feet, and thick tail that stores fat for energy, you might think they would be difficult to confuse with any other species. However, in poor lighting or from a distance, musk dusks and rakali (Australia’s aquatic otter equivalent) are sometimes confused for platypuses.

Watch for:

  • Concentric circles or ripples when platypuses dive and feed.
  • A trail of bubbles that reveals platypus movement underwater.
  • An obvious ‘bow-wave’ when platypuses are swimming on the surface.
  • Slide marks and burrow entrances in banks, either above or below the surface, that are 10–15 cm in diameter. Commonly, entrances are 5 cm to 1 m above the water level and concealed by overhangs or vegetation.
  • Footprints left in the soft mud on the riverbank near a burrow.
  • Optimal habitat for platypuses, which includes clean creeks and rivers with medium-flowing currents, sturdy banks, overhangs, submerged logs and runnels and pools of 1–3 deep. They may also inhabit lakes, dams and even large ponds if water quality is good enough.

Is it a platypus or a rakali?

It can sometimes be hard to tell rakali and platypus apart. Both are furry, semi-aquatic mammals that are similar in size and colour, but they have some noticeable differences.

Watch our video to find out about some main differences and fascinating facts that will help you correctly identify platypus this platy-project month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This