Keith on Life

Keith’s Australian Adventures 1: The Story of the Platypus

Earlier this year we had an amazing trip to Australia. One of the highlights was visiting Healesville Sancuary near Melbourne and it was there I met my first real platypus.

Face to face with a platypus

Face to face with a real platypus

The Story of the Platypus

We also found a beautiful Aboriginal story about them.

Long ago a young female black swan was swimming in a beautiful lake, then she saw a water rat, playing in the creek. She felt attracted to his brash and carefree manner. So different, to the quiet (and boring) dignity of her father, brothers and swan friends.

water rat

The handsome water rat

In fact she became very attracted to his carefree, and bad boy ways. He represented danger and excitement! A chance she thought, to escape the dull confines of her swan life.

The water rat caught her glance, but she looked away demurely. However she quietly moved to an isolated part of the creek. He took his chance swimming nearer to her. Her rebellious teenage swan passions were aroused and she was swept into a passionate affair.

black swan

The young black swan was attracted to the water rat.

However it was short lived, she soon began to tire of his brash manner. Also she suspected that his nights away were not just with the boys. so she abruptly ended it all by text saying’ you are just not my type’.

water rat

Water Rat, Swan & Platypus

But a single egg was the result of their union, and a strange offspring emerged. It had the furry body of the water rat, but a beak and webbed feet! He was the original ugly duckling. but never became a swan. He was playful like his father but graceful too like his mother.

But the platypus has a venomous sting too, and this is a reminder of the stinging rejection the water rat received from the swans text. Although he was outwardly rough and brash, he was also sensitive soul at heart. Together though, they brought the platypus to the world.


Platypus today

He couldn’t join a group

Later all the animals decided to create groups, or clubs. The land animals thought lets invite the platypus to our group, as he is furry and runs across the land. The birds thought they too should also invite the platypus as he has a beak and lays eggs. Then the water creatures thought let us ask platypus as he swims and dives in the water.

The platypus was confused and could not decide which group to join. After some thought he gathered all the animals together and thanked them for inviting him into their groups. Then he said I do not need to join any groups, as I am special in my own way.

Meaning of the Platypus

The platypus teaches us that it is ok to be different and unique, you don’t need to be like everyone else, or part of a group to be special. They are also solitary animals, and show us that it is important to be happy in your own company.

The platypus has an electromagnetic sense in its beak, which it uses underwater means it can sense things hidden from view. This reminds us to trust our own awareness and intuition to swim through the depth of our emotions.

The platypus teaches us about life

The platypus teaches us about life

Origins of the Platypus

About 200 million years ago, Australia started separating from the other continents. At that time monotremes were the ‘state of the art’ mammal, with fur, warm blood and milk for the little ones, but still laid eggs! As the continent moved north it became more and more isolated. The marsupials were an ingenious mammal upgrade, with live birth and pouches,and more or less took over, but a few monotremes survived to the present day. One of these is the platypus which is a direct ancestor of ancient animals around millions of years ago.


The platypus an ancient animal


The first Europeans were amazed by this egg laying mammal with a beak, and webbed feet! Everyone thought the first samples sent home were an elaborate hoax. They guessed it was stitched together from other animals. Later they thought this must be the first animal designed by a committee?

Male platypus are also the only mammal with a sting, and all of them have an electromagnetic 6th sense in their beaks so they really can ‘follow their noses’.



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