Platypus spotters wanted

Released 03/08/2017

August is Platypus month and Waterwatch is looking for spotters to count these much-loved iconic creatures. Late winter is the ideal time for spotting platypus as they spend more time feeding and the males are out and about preparing for the breeding season.

“The annual survey gives us an understanding of platypus numbers in rivers and creeks around Canberra and the surrounding region. It’s not their presence or absence that we’re looking at but rather the density of animals we find in a given stretch of river,” said Woo O’Reilly, Regional Waterwatch Facilitator.

“There will be 16 surveys conducted in August. Surveys will take place from 7:30am for one hour at various locations including Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Molonglo Reach and on the Murrumbidgee River near Cooma. Around 10 volunteers are needed per survey.

“Anyone can help with the surveys. You don’t need any experience. Just bring warm clothes, binoculars and a watch or phone and we will supply survey sheets on the day,” said Ms O’Reilly.

The platypus is a shy animal so often thought to only live in remote areas. In reality though, they can be found in many rivers and creeks in the ACT region. They have even been spotted in Lake Burley Griffin.

“This year we have added the lower Molonglo River below Coppins Crossing to the list of survey sites. A number of Waterwatch volunteers have seen platypus there and we would like to gain a better understanding of that population,” said Ms O’Reilly.

If you’re interested in helping out with the surveys, send an email to In the meantime, if you spot a platypus, report the sighting to the same email address. Include the time, date, location and any notes about behaviour and habitat.

For those who can’t make the surveys, but who would like to see a platypus, Waterwatch is also hosting a free walk from 8 am to 9 am on Sunday 20 August starting from the Isabella Street footbridge in Queanbeyan. No RSVP is necessary.

More information about Waterwatch and the various monitoring programs they conduct can be found on the website

Waterwatch is partly funded by ACT Healthy Waterways, a joint initiative of the ACT and Australian governments to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.

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