Journal article

The platypus nest: burrow structure and nesting behaviour in captivity

J Thomas, K Handasyde, ML Parrott, P Temple-Smith



The platypus nesting burrow, where females lay eggs and rear their young, has not been well studied. We have little knowledge of its structure and the process of construction. This study aimed to investigate nesting behaviour of breeding females and to describe the structure and features of the burrow. We used infrared cameras to record behaviour of captive breeding female platypuses during the nest-building period, over nine years. After the young had become independent, we excavated 11 nesting burrows and mapped their structural features. Nesting behaviour was observed 7-15 days after mating and was an indicator of gravidity. Females invested an average of 8 h 18 min over 3.5 nights, gathe..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by Healesville Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria, the Holsworth Wildlife Trust and the Winifred Violet Scott Trust. It could not have been completed without the assistance of keepers Sarah Boyd and Mason Hill, who we thank for their help with the excavations, which took many hours of their personal time. Special thanks to Amie Hindson for her photos of the platypus eggs and to Gavin McCall for identifying the species of leaves in the nest. This research was conducted under Zoos Victoria Animal Ethics Committee approval ZV12014.