Platypus census

Platypus in the wild

For more than 20 years we've recorded platypus numbers every autumn and spring. Help build a better understanding of this elusive animal by reporting your own platypus sightings.

Platypus can be found in rivers and creeks throughout Melbourne — but being very shy creatures, it's difficult to know how many live in a specific waterway. With your help, we can build our knowledge of local platypus populations and manage our waterways to support them into the future.

Spot a platypus

The best time to spot platypus is at dawn and dusk during autumn and spring, but you can see them at any time. Submit your sightings, observations and photos of platypus through our:

platypusSPOT website

platypusSPOT app for Apple or Android

Download our brochure to learn more about platypus and how you can help:

Get involved


Our Waterwatch program raises awareness of platypus and conservation issues in key platypus areas. You'll often find us at an upcoming event near you, including:

  • information sessions
  • festival stalls and other activities
  • working with councils and community organisations

We encourage and support the community to protect this iconic animal, so get please get in touch if you have an idea for a platypus program in your area.

Water sampling

We're working with community groups along Monbulk Creek and Werribee River to track platypus populations using environmental DNA (eDNA). This involves collecting water samples in spring and autumn and analysing them for fragments of platypus DNA. Please contact us if you would like to be involved in this program.

Learn how we can survey platypus from just a water sample! This film demonstrates the platypus environmental DNA collection process for citizen scientists.

Platypus Citizen Science - transcript

Other ways to help

Simple changes in behaviour can help reduce platypus deaths. You can play your part by:

  • picking up litter to prevent entanglement
  • keeping dogs on a leash around waterways
  • picking up after your dog to prevent water pollution
  • never using Opera House Nets to catch yabbies, as they can drown platypus
  • always taking all fishing line home to prevent entanglement
  • installing a water tank or raingarden to reduce stormwater pollution
  • never putting anything down a stormwater drain

Contact us

For more information on any of our activities or programs:

Last updated:
22 April 2020