The platypus is a unique Australian fauna species. Along with echidnas, platypuses are known as monotremes - mammals that lay eggs. Platypuses occur in freshwater systems along Australia's eastern coast, where there are slow moving pools and fast moving riffle areas with coarse bottom substrates such as cobbles and gravel. Platypuses make use of crevices and stream debris for shelter or burrow into earth banks under roots of native vegetation.
Platypuses are active all year round, but mostly during twilight and in the night. During the day, individuals shelter in a short burrow in a bank. The platypus feeds mainly during the night, foraging up to 12 hours per day, on a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates such as shrimp, worms, yabbies, pea-shell mussels and immature and adult aquatic insects (such as dragonflies, caddisflies, beetles and water bugs).
Council's support of the Platypus and its habitat
One of the goals set out in the Council's Strategic Plan Camden 2025 was to improve the quality of the Nepean River so that the platypus can return to its natural habitat. The vision to improve water quality of the Nepean River is also reflected in the Community Strategic Plan.
As platypus are rarely seen in the wild, Council encourages residents to report any platypus sightings to the Associate Professor David Phalen, University of Sydney 9036 7757. This will provide valuable information that can be used for further research into the habitat of this unique creature.
For more information contact Council’s Natural Resource Officer on 4654 7777.
During 2005, Council formally adopted the platypus into its logo as a symbol of a Sustainable Camden because although once common in the area, the effect of human activities has impacted on the river and has seen the decline of the platypus.
The platypus reflects the impacts that economic, social and cultural changes have had on our community and, in particular, the impacts on our water quality. In other words, the platypus is a sustainability indicator.
During August 2009, Council supported the National Park Association (NPA) - Macarthur Branch and NSW Fisheries' campaign to raise public awareness of the threat to the platypus from the illegal use of Opera House style yabby traps.
Two years on, Council has supported the ongoing campaign of the Macarthur Branch of NPA to protect platypuses and their habitat by installing five prominent signs at key locations along the Nepean River and cycleway. The signs raise awareness that the river provides habitat for platypuses and also encourages responsible fishing practices.
The platypus habitat signs in the Camden Local Government Area (LGA) complement similar platypus habitat signs in the neighbouring LGAs of Campbelltown and Wollondilly
Contact WIRES Hotline on 1300 094 737 or Sydney Wildlife Rescue Hotline on 9413 4300 for injured native animals and to report illegal fishing or trappings contact Fishers Watch Phoneline 1800 043 536. (Note: Calls made to 1800 numbers from a standard telephone are free to the caller. Calls made from a mobile may be charged at a timed rate).
In the instances where Council is contacted directly regarding reports of illegal fishing or riverbank habitat destruction etc, Council officers, can direct the caller to:
Contact the Fishers Watch Phoneline 1800 043 536 or complete the online report.
Alternatively, Council Officers can forward the information onto the Fishers Watch Phoneline 1800 043 536. In this instance, the following information is required from the caller:
- Type of activity
- Time, date and location of activity
- Number of people and any descriptions
- Registration numbers of cars and boats.
- Contact details (optional)
Council does not offer any reward, monetary or otherwise for the reporting of illegal fishing activities. Any enquiries of this nature should be directed to the Fishers Watch Phoneline 1800 043 536.