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Platypus House

semi-overcast 18 °C

Next to Seahorse World is Platypus House, where you can learn all about these illusive animals, and watch them swim around in their tanks.
Unfortunately, they swim far too quickly for me to take photos, without scaring them with a flash, so some of these images below have been 'acquired' from somewhere else!

The only two monotremes left in the world are the Platypus and the Echidna. The name Echidna is from the Greek goddess Ekhidna who was half reptile and half mammal. The plural of Platypus is Platypuses and comes from the Greek platy=flat and pus=foot. Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs and the males have spurs near the ankle, which in a platypus contains a poison gland.

Australia’s only aquatic mammal, apart from the water rat. They are found in eastern Australia and all of Tasmania. They live in banks of streams and lakes and feed mostly in the water. Burrow temperatures remain close to 18 degrees throughout the year. They have two layers of fur, a fine insulating layer and a longer top layer that helps keep air bubbles in place to aid insulation.
The males have a spur on their ankle which contains venom. It is enough to kill a cat or dog but is not lethal to humans, which is good, as their is no anti-venom. They are the only mammal in the world to make venom.

Platypus catch most of their food on the lake or river bottom, sieving through the mud, sand and gravel. Small food items are stored in cheek pouches where they are brought to the surface to be chewed.

The short beaked echidna is found throughout most of Australia. The back of the echidna is covered in spines and coarse hair. In Tasmania hair sometimes obscures the spines. When threatened echidna will dig downwards often completely covering itself in 60 seconds. On the mainland, echidna sleep during the day in rocky crevices or under logs but in Tasmania they sleep at night.
The Echidna were busy being fed and waddling around, so here's some photos I took outside the cottage

Eastern Quoll
Among other interesting facts, was this example of a Quoll.
We had been lucky enough to see one in the wild, but only briefly, so it was nice to be able to have a good look:
The eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus), also known as the eastern native cat, is a medium-sized carnivorous dasyurid marsupial native to Australia. They are now considered extinct on the mainland, but remain widespread and even locally common in Tasmania. It is one of six extant species of quolls.

Glow Worms
The evening of the quoll sighting at Mt Field, we had gone to admire the Glow Worms in the woods. They are a genus of five fungus gnat species which have a luminescent larval stage, akin to the larval stage of glowworm beetles. The species of Arachnocampa are endemic to New Zealand and Australia, dwelling in caves and grottos, or sheltered places in forests.
The larva glows to attract prey into its threads, perhaps luring them into believing they are outdoors, for the roof of a cave covered with larva can look remarkably like a blue starry sky at night. A hungry larva glows brighter than one which has just eaten.

Heading back to the car that evening we met a few possums! We'd seen a LOT of possums in Tasmania, and unfortunately they are considered a pest as they eat the fruit, roses, shrubs etc. So it was nice to see some live ones!

Moving on from Platypus World, we headed to Devonport, and on the way, couldn't resit a detour following a sign that said Batman Bridge!
Not what we were expecting, but an impressive bridge.
And so onwards, to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, ready for an 11hr crossing to Melbourne and the mainland of Australia.
It was sad to see Tas disappear into the distance. We have a lot of fond memories of some amazing places visited.
Here's to the next chapter...

Posted by charlystyles 13:35 Archived in Australia Tagged platypus batman_bridge

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