Percy the platypus rescue mission
AFTER HEAVY RAINS and flash flooding, a young platypus was recently found near Queensland Rail at Caboolture, washed far from home.
Dubbed Percy, the platypus was found by a private security guard when a dog reportedly attacked him. Percy was carefully rescued and taken into the care of Dr Rosie Booth, head vet at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital.
Rosie said that when receiving a rescued platypus, the first course of action is always to establish if it is an adult male. Because of the venomous spike on platypuses’ back leg, vets and rescuers must be careful they aren’t dealing with an aggressive male which could deliver an excruciatingly painful dose of poison from its spur.
Once Percy was deemed too young to be of harm, he was anaesthetised and underwent a full examination that included checking for parasites and anaemia.
“People rarely see platypuses because they’re so good at hiding,” said Rosie, adding that if one is easily found it is likely to be sick and weak.
Thankfully for Percy, he was in good health and was soon released back into the wild.
“It was beautiful,” Rosie said of the release. She was told Percy was very enthusiastic and only “bobbed up for a quick breath before taking off.”
Image courtesy Australia Zoo.
While Percy is a good news story, other platypuses are not always so lucky.
“Floods are a serious threat to platypuses,” Rosie said, adding that some have been carried out to the ocean, washed up on beaches and one even ended up in a shopping centre car park.
Many can “get into all kinds of trouble” during times of heavy rain and need caring for, but Rosie added that teams that save platypuses like Percy “can only exist to do their good work through the support of the community.”
If you see a platypus that looks sick or in need of help, it is advised you avoid contact and instead phone your local wildlife rescue organisation for assistance.