Animal activist Mark Selmes reckons the platypus is Australia's superhero mammal, with many strange powers.
"The Easter Bunny is weird laying eggs, but the platypus lays eggs too. They are unique animals and we know so little about them," Selmes said.
"They lay eggs, yet the female oozes milk through their skin to suckle their young.
"They have powers of electro-sensory perception in their bills that they find food with. They also have water-proof fur that keeps them warm underwater as well as webbed feet and a venomous spur.
"It is an animal with huge superpowers. It is one of the X-Men of Australian wildlife."
Selmes has invited everyone to a special talk on the platypus and native water rats to be held at 6pm on Wednesday, May 1 at Workspace 2580, 56 Clinton Street.
He says there is no doubt the platypus is a fascinating creature, but they are becoming increasingly rare to see in the wild.
"The Wollondilly River does have them, and all the way out to Crookwell in Kiamma Creek they have been spotted, but they are very shy and secretive animals. You often just hear plop and they are moving away from you," Selmes said.
"During the day they are in their burrows under river banks."
In comparison, relatively few people know that the Australian water-rat (Hydromys chrysogaster) is a genuine native rat that was part of our environment long before the arrival of its rodent pest cousins - the black rat and brown rat.
Selmes will host the talk, to be given by ecologist Geoff Williams, who has been studying the platypus since the 1990s.
Williams, from the Australian Platypus Conservancy, will be there to share his knowledge of this amazing animal.
He was one of the founding members of the not-for-profit Australian Platypus Conservancy in 1994, which he now runs from his 12ha property at Wiseleigh, near Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.
Williams will outline the biology and key conservation requirements of these two fascinating aquatic mammals during the talk.
He'll also provide tips on how to go about spotting them in the wild and explain how the community can become involved in an innovative new citizen science program - the Australian Platypus Monitoring Network - to keep track of platypus in local waterways.
Spokesperson for LachLandcare Inc Mary Bonet said the conservation status of the platypus had now been recognised as 'Near Threatened' by IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), reflecting the fact that there are worrying signs of decline in some parts of its range.
"We need to act now to get a good idea of how this special species is faring in our region so that we can plan timely conservation action," she said.
This is a free event however registration is essential.
RSVP through Eventbrite.
- For further information contact Mary Bonet via firstname.lastname@example.org
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