Saturday, April 28, 2012

A dark mystery revealed

Very much to my surprise nobody even came close to guessing what this was.

That surprises me a little because I am sure at least one person has guessed this answer for something that was totally different.

Jenny admitted defeat, after all honesty is always the best policy, and you were right it was not a toad’s eyes.

Kitty, to be sure there are droplets of water in the picture, but that is not the answer.

Welcome back Anne, it is a life form but very Aussie and not alien. Although in old days the first specimens (pelts) were believed by British scientists to be some kind of hoax.

Carolyn it is neither a mug nor a frog, although this creature is arguably as much at home in water as a frog.

Linda, I can see that, and yes it is wet but it is living and breathing and not a cave formation.

Susan, this part is shiny and wet, but see the above.

Well here this little fellow is:

A platypus! (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Platypus (often called “duck-billed” platypus) are quite common in streams up and down the east coast of Oz and Tasmania. Despite that most Aussies have never seen one in the wild because they are very shy. I have spent many hours in the bush around prime habitat and have only ever seen them two or three times.

The only time most Aussies see them is on our 20 cent coin.
Before a few days ago I have never managed to photograph one. These shots are very grainy because I was shooting in near dark without a flash (a flash would have upset this poor little fellow and I would have got no more piccies) so the ISO on my camera was set at maximum.

These guys must be as flexible as cats, because here the little fellow is reaching up with a back leg to scratch a back itch!

Platypus are very unique, they have been described as “duck-billed, beaver-tailed and otter footed”. Together with echidnas they are one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world. They dig long burrows under the banks of streams where they lay their eggs, before raising their puggles (the name for a baby platypus or echidna) on milk like all other mammals. I’ve never seen a platypus puggle but I can attest that echidna ones are super cute!

One last piccie


mshatch said...

what a strange little creature! I did think those two dots might be nostrils but had no idea who they might belong to.

Funny how many animals there are living near us we never see. In the last week I've seen my first 2 live porcupines (the rest have been roadkill). They are cute but sadly, not very cuddly :)

Linda G. said...

Doh! *slaps forehead* I should have seen that!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

YAY!!!!! You posted pics of a platypus!!! How tee-totally awesome that you actually saw one in the wild. I did a google search a while back to see if there were any in a U.S. zoo. Nope. Gotta go down under to see 'em. Thanks so much for the post. I'm sure glad I checked your blog today. Oh, by the way, I just saw something on TV recently that said the platyplus has a poisonous spur. That was a new one on me. Again, thanks for posting the pics.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I didn't cheat but went straight here to comment. It looks like lights of a city seen from an airplane, through a window of rain. But I'm not sure about the two "eyes". The eyes have me stumped.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Oh! A platypus. I should've known it'd be something from "down under". I see I missed by a hemisphere or two!

Rebecca E. said...

wow! waay cool photos!

Kristen M. said...

I thought it was an animal but didn't have time to ponder it more deeply. Love that you got these piccies of one though! Lucky you. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

O.M.G. How cool are you to be able to get a picture of the elusive creature. Good on ya', mate.

Carolyn V said...

I would have NEVER guessed that! That is amazing that you were able to catch a picture of them.