Platypus census

Platypus in the wild

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. This is important as in 2021, the Victorian Government formally listed the Platypus population in Victoria as vulnerable.

Report your sightings on PlatypusSPOT

Did you know: the best time to spot platypus is at dawn and dusk during autumn and spring, but you can see them at any time? 

Help build a better understanding of this elusive animal by reporting your own platypus sightings on the PlatypusSPOT website, or via the app.

Download for iOS Download for Android

Where in Melbourne do platypus live?

Greater Melbourne’s waterways provide habitat for plants and animals, and are critically important in sustaining much of our region’s native biodiversity. Platypus can be spotted in a few locations around Greater Melbourne:

Dandenong

Platypus are known to occur in the upper parts of the catchment, namely upper Dandenong, Dobsons, Monbulk and Ferny Creeks. However, in recent years, targeted surveys suggest that platypus may no longer be present in Upper Dandenong and Ferny Creeks.

Maribyrnong

Platypus have been observed in the lower reaches of Jacksons Creek near Sunbury, Deep Creek Upper and Lower, and in the Maribyrnong River near the junctions with these creeks.

Werribee

Platypus in the Werribee River are considered locally threatened due to low numbers and continuing long term decline. They are observed around Werribee and further upstream around Bacchus Marsh including in Werribee River Gorge.

Past records suggest that platypus were previously present in Kororoit Creek, but not since the Millennium Drought.

Westernport

Platypus are known to occur in the north eastern parts of the catchment, including rivers and creeks in the Bunyip, Tarago and Lang Lang river systems. There is also a reintroduced population in Cardinia Creek, with platypus released between 2004 and 2007.

Yarra River and tributaries

Platypus have been observed in the Mullum Mullum Creek, the Yarra River at Warburton and tributaries (including McKenzie King, Surrey Road and Big Pats Creek), the McMahons Creek, Woori Yallock Creek, and the Chum Creek.

Vulnerable populations of platypus have been observed in the Diamond Creek in Eltham, Lower Plenty River in Greensborough, Olinda Creek between Lilydale and Mount Evelyn and the Little Yarra River in Yarra Junction.

A locally threatened population of platypus has been observed in the Plenty River in South Morang.

Our conservation and research

Learn how platypus are monitored, what threats they face and how we're helping to protect them.

Water sampling for platypus DNA

Did you know we can survey platypus numbers from a simple water sample? We work with community groups along Monbulk Creek and Werribee River to collect water samples in spring and autumn so we can track local platypus populations.

Citizen scientists can find out about our process for collecting platypus' environmental DNA (eDNA) in the following video. 

Other ways you can help

Litter poses a series threat to platypus. They can become entangled in items such as fishing line, elastic hair ties, and sealing rings from food jars.

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
  • report the use off illegal Opera House nets via 24/7 phone line: Reporting illegal fishing - 13FISH 
  • always taking all fishing line home to prevent entanglement
  • installing a water tank or raingarden to reduce stormwater pollution – learn how to build a raingarden
  • never putting anything down a stormwater drain

Education resources

Puddles the platypus (F-Year 2)

Waterbug and platypus adaptations (Years 5-6)

Waterwatch activity sheets (F-Year 6)

Waterwatch activity and colouring sheets

Contact us

For more information on any of our activities or programs:

For more information, visit Healthy Waterways website.

Last updated:
28 July 2021