Journal article

Maternal care of platypus nestlings (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

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



Maternal care in platypuses has never been rigorously studied due to the difficulty in locating and accessing nesting burrows. Here we describe the maternal behaviour of a captive female platypus and the growth and development of her offspring over 11 breeding seasons. We located a nesting burrow and inserted a camera to record the activity and behaviour of the female and her offspring. We also measured the female's food intake during lactation. The ages of the offspring were assigned to developmental milestones including opening of the eyes and development of pelage. Twins (n = 4) were left alone for periods longer than 24 h by the mother at an earlier age than single nestlings (n = 2). The..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This research was funded by Healesville Sanctuary, the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment and the Winifred Violet Scott Trust. Special thanks to the platypus keepers, particularly Sarah Boyd, at Healesville Sanctuary for their assistance attaching the transmitter and reviewing video footage. All procedures performed in this study involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Zoos Victoria Animal Ethic Committee (approval ZV12014).