Quatre Saisons - natural sustainable farming
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Since the first fleet returned with drawings of these unusual creatures, lots has been learnt about the platypus, the short-billed echidna and the long-billed echidna. We know that monotremes are egg-laying mammals with many secrets we have yet to discover and thus our fascination with these animals continues.

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It is in some of the quietest, most secret places on Quatre Saisons, tucked away in the dark hushed parts of our forest, where platypus and echidna choose to raise their young. Maybe you will be lucky enough to encounter them one day too.

The platypus is sometimes described as a "living fossil" because of this ancient lineage and its combination of mammalian and reptilian features.

Australian aboriginals once believed that the platypus was the offspring of a lonely female duck and a male water-rat. When the first platypus arrived in Europe in 1799, many believed it was a hoax. It was only after careful examination of the platypus by a British scientist, Dr George Shaw that the platypus was recognised as a new species. His initial reaction to this original specimen was that it was an elaborate hoax. He even took a pair of scissors to the pelt, expecting to find stitches attaching the bill to the skin.

We are incredibly lucky to have a number of platypus that visit in our deep spring holes. Platypus are solitary animals that do not form social groups or family units. This area is under threat of erosion from heavy rain washout and is part of an area we hope to rehabilitate successfully with assistance from the Natural Sequence Farming Association.

Platypuses are relatively difficult to see in the wild because of their quiet, retiring nature and largely nocturnal habits. In New South Wales, platypus are believed to survive in all of the rivers flowing east from the Great Dividing Range, and at least in the upper reaches of 13 of the state's 16 west-flowing rivers. The platypus is officially classified as "Common but Vulnerable" in Australia.

As a species, platypus is not currently considered to be endangered. However, platypus populations are believed to have declined or disappeared in many catchments, particularly in urban and agricultural landscapes.

In most cases, the specific underlying reasons for the reduction in numbers remain unknown. Platypus surveys have only been carried out in a few catchments in eastern Australia so it is impossible to know of the number of platypus remaining in the wild.

Additional Resources

There are organisations you can join to support conservation of platypus and their habitat:

Australian Platypus Conservancy