Journal article

Seasonal changes in food selection and nutrition of captive platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Jessica L Thomas, Kathrine A Handasyde, Peter Temple-Smith, Marissa L Parrott

AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY | CSIRO PUBLISHING | Published : 2017

Abstract

Anecdotal observations of captive platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) suggest that they show a seasonal preference for particular foods, but this has never been rigorously measured. This study aimed to determine seasonal food preferences and energy consumption of captive platypuses so that better protocols for maintaining platypuses in captivity can be developed. Seven platypuses were fed an ad libitum diet with all food items weighed in and out of tanks. Food items were analysed for energy, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Platypuses preferred less mobile prey (mealworms, earthworms and fly pupae) over highly mobile prey (crayfish). There was no significant seasonal c..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank keepers from Healesville Sanctuary, particularly Sarah Boyd and Mason Hill, for meticulous collection of data, and Dr Kim Miller for statistical advice. This project was funded by Healesville Sanctuary and the Winifred Violet Scott Trust. This study was conducted under approval from the Zoos Victoria Animal Ethics Committee ZV12014.