Unexpected sighting of exceptional mammal

A platypus pops its head out of the water in Darebin Creek

A platypus has been spotted in Darebin Creek for the first time in at least ten years by a Banyule Council ranger.

Tom Crawshaw first noticed “a brown flash” on Monday 6 February while clearing debris from a revegetation area hit by this summer’s storms. He was able to snap several photos, proving it was a platypus as he had suspected.

Mr Crawshaw’s discovery was confirmed the following Friday, as he shot numerous photos including the above image when the platypus reappeared.

“I’m feeling pretty lucky,” he said, noting that platypuses tend to be particular about the environment they choose to inhabit.

Mr Crawshaw said the rangers had been working hard to significantly revegetate this area of Darebin Creek, where the increasing biodiversity had led to sightings of kingfishers, tiger snakes, willie wagtails and fairy wrens.

Other projects from the council include the redevelopment of a wetland near Southern Road to filter stormwater and the installation of nest boxes for wildlife like sugar gliders.

Mr Crawshaw stressed that the community also has an important role to play in helping the creek.

“Preventing litter and other pollution entering the waterway is probably the single most important thing people can do...[to] encourage species such as the platypus to return,” he said.

Members of the public who spot platypuses in their local area or want to learn more about the unique mammal are encouraged to visit the platypusSPOT website or download the app.

Platypus observations allow Melbourne Water to develop a better understanding of local platypus populations, which allows for more effective management of waterways.