Dry conditions increased platypus sightings on KI

Months of dry conditions and low water in creeks led to increased sightings of platypus on Kangaroo Island in recent months.

Thankfully recent rains should have improved the situation for South Australia's only wild platypus, brought to the Island in the early 1920s by conservationists concerned about their future.

Between March 21 and April 9, 2019 there were 26 separate reports of platypus sightings to the front desk of the visitor centre at Flinders Chase National Park.

Unusually there have been multiple sightings in one day, with April 3 being especially prominent for sightings with seven separate sightings reported to the front desk, according to Natural Resources KI.

Among those spotting platypus and posting their encounters on Facebook were KI locals Linda Irwin-Oak and Sherryn Diotti.

"It was mid afternoon when we where there," Sherryn said. "We spent about half hour sitting within a couple of metres of him watching him dig around in the mud.

"I am still on a high as I have spent hours sitting and looking over the years. Tick off my bucket list."

NRKI's playtpus facts:

Platypus are solitary animals best seen swimming in waterholes as they search for food at dawn and dusk. Look for their smooth swimming action with a bow-wave and their rolling dive as they chase their food. Find them at the Platypus Waterholes Walk or Rocky River Hike in Flinders Chase National Park.

Kangaroo Island contains the only wild population of platypus in South Australia. Early in the 1920s concerned conservationists recognised platypus were becoming endangered on the mainland of South Australia and consequently introduced them to Flinders Chase National Park where they are now believed to be well established.

The platypus is a unique animal with a pliable duck-shaped bill, webbed feet and a broad, flattened tail. It is covered in dark brown, thick, fine, insulating fur. The platypus uses its bill to detect electrical impulses emitted from its prey. Diet The platypus is a carnivore, eating worms, insect larvae, flies, small fish, small shrimps (such as yabbies) and other water-borne species. It spends around 12 hours each day foraging for food.

The platypus is restricted to freshwater streams and water bodies for its food. When not foraging in water, it rests and nest in a burrow in earthen banks, or occasionally in accumulated stream debris or in low, dense vegetation.

Watch for platypus from the look outs located over the Rocky River along the Platypus Waterholes Walk. They are very sensitive to sounds and movements so for the best results remain as still and quiet as possible.