The Sydney platypus is almost impossible to find. They are a shy animal and close to extinction. Even if you find a place where you know they live, unless you remain absolutely quiet, it is unlikely to surface.
The common name “platypus” literally means ‘flat-foot’, deriving from the Greek platús (meaning flat) and poús (meaning feet). The plural is platypuses, platypus or even platypi. The scientific name means duck-like bird-snout, hence the term duck-billed platypus.
The platypus is a weird looking animal
Egg Laying Mammal
It, is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, from Northern QLD to Tasmania. It is one of the few mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young, together with its cousin the echidna. The eggs are soft and hatch like snake and turtle eggs.
Like other monotremes, it senses prey through electrolocation. It is one of the few species of venomous mammals, as the male has a spur on its hind foot that delivers a painful venom. The venom increases during mating season.
A great swimmer and great on land
Its webbed feet are ideal for swimming in the water. When platypuses move on land they fold up the webbing under their toes and uses their claws for walking and burrowing. Their beaver like fur makes them water dynamic as they easily glide through the water.
The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when it was first discovered, and the first scientists to examine a preserved platypus body in 1799 judged it a fake, made of several animals sewn together. It was thought to be one of the biggest animal hoaxes in history.
An Icon of Australia
It is an iconic symbol of Australia and culturally significant to several Aboriginal peoples of Australia, who used to hunt it for food. It has appeared as a mascot at the Sydney Olympics and features on the reverse of the Australian twenty-cent coin.
The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales. Until the early 20th century, humans hunted it for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive-breeding programs have had only limited success, and it is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat of extinction.
Sydney Platypus Tours
There are areas in and around our city where platypuses are supposed to be known to live. However, we have not been able to find a location where we have had success in finding them. Due to the difficulties of finding wild platypuses in or near our city, Travel Ideology do not run Sydney Platypus tours.
We are continuously trying to find places where we can take tourists on wild platypus tours.
Where can I find a wild platypus?
Unfortunately, wild platypuses in and around Sydney are notoriously difficult to find and spot. This leaves a trip to a zoo.
Please note that the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford also has some platypus on display.
+ Can platypuses kill people?
The duck-billed platypus is one of only a few venom-producing mammals. Whilst it is unlikely to kill a human being, it will certainly give a great deal of pain.
+ How do platypuses eat without a stomach and teeth?
A platypus doesn’t have a stomach. Instead it has a separate pouch where food collects, its esophagus connects directly to its intestine. Scientists do not know why this is the case. It also has no teeth and uses a keratin plate in its bill to grind up its food.
+ How many platypuses are left?
They are listed as near threatened. There are between 30,000 and 300,000 platypuses are thought to have lived in Australia.
+ How does a platypus poop?
A platypus has a cloaca (similar to a bird) ie, it uses the same orifice to wee, poo, or have a baby. It lays eggs rather than giving birth to live young.
+ What kind of animal is a platypus?
Like its cousin the echidna, it is a monotreme or egg laying mammal.
+ What is a baby platypus called?