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Getting along swimmingly

From a distance, the wake coming across Numurkah’s Broken Creek looked like a snake at first, but its course was too direct. A platypus perhaps, but again too determined, and the platypi I had observed before always left a meandering trail.

Grabbing a camera I trailed the creature as it cruised ahead along the bank of the sluggish creek.

I froze as it changed direction and headed my way. No platypus had short spiky ears like this. It spooked and dived and as its brown body disappeared I saw its white-tipped tail.

It was Hydromys chrysogaster — the Australian water rat, once trapped for its fur, but now a protected species and making a comeback.

Its body length, not including tail, can be up to 40cm, and our mate shown above was pretty close.

The species have partially-webbed hind-feet, water-repellent fur, and abundant whiskers.

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