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Platypus — Right Time, Right Place

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 24 January 2020 | Views [136]

Finally, Platypus: Peterson Creek, Yungaburra QLD

Finally, Platypus: Peterson Creek, Yungaburra QLD

AUSTRALIA IS KNOWN FOR ITS STRANGE ANIMALS and none is more strange than the platypus.  It appears to be an evolutionary afterthought, a hodgepodge made from spare parts — the bill of a duck, the tail of a beaver and the feet of an otter.  Like other mammals, the platypus is covered with fur and mothers nurse their young.  But baby platypus are not born alive, they hatch from eggs.  Platypus, along with Echidnas, are the only egg-laying mammals.  They are also the only venomous mammal (if you don’t include my ex-wife.)  As Yul Brynner sang, “It’s a puzzlement!” 


      It's a Puzzlement

Morning is the right time to see a platypus.  And Peterson Creek in Yungaburra is the right place.  At least it was today.  All we could see from the Platypus Viewing Platform in Yungaburra was muddy water which surprised me.  Our previous (failed) attempts to see platypus were in the crystal clear waters of Tasmania. 


      One Platypus, Two Platypodes

This seems like a good time for a digression.  The correct plural of platypus is platypodes since platypus, like octopus, is from Greek, not Latin.  So people who use platypi and octopi — of which I was one — are incorrect.  Either platypus or platypuses, however, is acceptable for more than one platypus. 


          Connie stalks her prey

I followed Connie along the Peterson Creek trail under the highway bridge alongside a cow pasture until we again came to the stream.  Ripples in the muddy water drew our attention to . . . yes! there were two of them . . . playtypuses, platapodes or whatever.   We watched for perhaps ten minutes as they played otter-like and groomed themselves.  Or maybe we were watching platypus foreplay.  Eventually they went their separate ways, a line of bubbles marking their progress.  


              Getting Frisky

We followed the creek as far as the suspension bridge but didn’t see any more.  Surprisingly, we didn’t see or hear any birds, either.


      Independent Suspension

Nearby Curtain Fig National Park boasts — what else — the famous Curtain Fig Tree.  Strangler figs are common sights in rainforests around the world but this guy has taken strangling to dimensions not dreamed of even in Boston.


           Curtain Fig Tree, Yungaburra QLD

Nothing beats being at the Right Place at the Right Time!


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