Waterwatch Platypus Program

Audio described version

Speaker 1 – S1 (Tiana Preston, Waterwatch Coordinator)
Speaker 2 – S2 (Josh Griffiths, Senior Consultant, cesar)

[White screen with Melbourne Water logo and Victoria State Government logo]
[On-screen text: Platypus Program Waterwatch]

[On-screen text: Tiana Preston, Waterwatch Coordinator, Melbourne Water]

S1: TP ‘Platypus are really unique animals; they’re monotremes, um, that means that they lay eggs, but they also lactate, so they make milk as well. Melbourne Water conducts surveys through our partner organization, ceser, throughout Melbourne. So we use specialized nets to help catch the platypus and then we can weigh and track the platypus over time.’

[On-screen text: Josh Griffiths, Senior Consultant]

S2: JG ‘Could even be like a little juvenile female. The tail is actually moveable, so the females will gather sticks and leaves and they sort of wrap it in their tail and swim back to their burrow as they should be doing at this time of the year. So there’s a bony plate through the middle here, but then the outside is quite soft and fleshy. So obviously it’s not hard like a duck’s bill at all. It’s almost quite rubbery or leathery some people describe it as. And if you look you see all the pores on the bill and that’s where all the electroreceptors are, that they use to find their food underwater. So they’ve got no teeth, but um, at the back they’ve got um, like, grinding pads which they crush all their bugs up with.’

S1: TP ‘Platypus feed on aquatic macroinvertebrates which is essentially a big word for water bugs that live in our waterways. Platypus feed by closing their eyes and their ears and they have special electroreceptors in their bills that they can find the food with. This makes platypus particularly vulnerable to getting entangled in litter because they’re foraging around with their eyes and ears closed and something like a rubber band or a hair band can easily slip over their head. There’s a number of things people can do to help platypus. They involve picking up litter such as hair bands, rubber bands, six-pack ring holders, putting them in the bin and importantly, snipping them before you put them in the bin as well. You could keep your dog out of a waterway; that’s a really good help for platypus because dogs may like to play with platypus but they don’t like to play back, unfortunately, so keep them out of the waterway and that helps protect both of them. And also, fish responsibly; please don’t use opera house nets and also take any fishing line home with you when you’re finished fishing. Part of the Waterwatch program at Melbourne Water is to engage with the community and help the community understand how they can help platypus. What Melbourne Water also does is to look after our waterways and we do that in a number of ways; through revegetation programs, through environmental flows, through fencing, through working with land holders on our river frontage projects also. If you would like to participate in a platypus spotting session you’re welcome to contact Melbourne Water and get involved with us that way or go to the platypusSPOT.org website.’

[Melbourne Water logo on a white background]