Thursday, April 09, 2009


Theme Thursday, my how quickly they come around . . this week in tribute to the upcoming Easter Weekend - EGGS!

Short nosed echidna . . he has a long nosed cousin!

Where I live it’s a rare thing to come across, meet, socialise or even attend a school with a
full blood aboriginal person. Sad reflection perhaps on the relative success of the white Australia policy that saw them either marginalised or slowly ‘bred white’. Where I live is on Dharuk country and one time home of the Bidjidal people. The land that is now called Castle Hill was home to Pemulwuy, a Bidjigal leader who lead a resistance movement against the British including sacking farms in Castle Hill before he was captured, beheaded and his head returned to England as a museum piece.

I know that the Bidjigal people wandered across my land even though these days, there are no signs of them ever existing, I know because the tree in my front yard saw it all and told me so. Whilst the Bidjigal are a rarety these days, there are two other Australians that have crossed my land since Australia broke from Gwandanaland and they too have baffled science and are are indeed a rarety around these parts. The Echidna and the Platypus.

The creek that now has been culverted and diverted, filled and damned just on the corner of
my block would have once been home to platypus and actually I have seen an echidna on the block but many years ago although environmental studies claim that they’re still around.

All that is well and good, but what is unusual about the Platypus and the Echidna is not the fact that they are indeed bizarre looking, or that they are marsupials (have a pouch), nor that they are native to Australia, nor that they’ve been around since Pemulwuy was a baby but that they That is are monotremes. The key anatomical difference between monotremes and other mammals is the one that gave them their name; Monotreme means 'single opening' in Greek word ‘monos’ meaning single and ‘trema’ meaning hole. In fact their urinary, defecatory, and reproductive systems all open into a single duct, evenmore astounding when you learn that these mammals, lay eggs!

Yes, they are warm blooded, produce milk in mammary glands and hatch a clutch of eggs.

Duck Billed Platypus - although I don't know why that name because there's no other kind! Cute but has a nasty poisonous spur on his hind legs


laughingwolf said...

mmm scrambled or hard boiled? :O lol

Kath Lockett said...

...the echidna would have to be my favourite Aussie animal. Spiky but cute somehow.

Anonymous said...

Nice little history lesson on the aboriginal people. It was far worse over in the U.S.( the persecution of Indian tribes still continues, to a point ). AMn-kind has a nasty way of dealing with that which he deems in his way, tho'. But I digress....

I often wanted a platypus for a pet( then again, anything unusual I was up for having ). Well, why not? Not that the parental units would give in( which they never did ).

Brian Miller said...

nice. just read to my sons about the echidna's today, in a book that inspired my post. nice history lesson as well. happy TT and easter.

Brian Miller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don't Bug Me! said...

Whilst in Western Australia we came across an echidna in the middle of the road. I was worried it was going to get run over, so I tried to move it. It curled up and suctioned itself on to the road. A very spikey problem to deal with. In the end we had to stand there and direct traffic around it until it saw fit to uncurl and lumber on off the road. Wonderful creatures.

Megan said...

The platypus fascinates me. But the 'one hole' idea puts me off a bit!

Okay, more than a bit!!

Ces said...

So can one eat an echidna or dickbill platypus "balut"?

River said...

You managed avoid Easter Eggs entirely. Well done.

River said...

Oh, there were two full-blood aboriginal girls in my high school for a while. I don't remember if they were there for a full year or just a term. I do know that most of the other students seemed to avoid them. They weren't in my year, I think year 9, at the time I remember wondering why only two, there were lots of them living in the area.

Mrsupole said...

I did not know that there were hardly any aboriginal tribes people left there. I thought that they just lived alongside of everyone there, not placed on reservations like the native tribes people here.

Thank you for the history lesson and the mammals story. Are they unisex too?

God bless.

Jay said...

It's quite horrifying to reflect on the things people did in the past, isn't it? There was quite a taste for beheading people and abusing their heads at one time. According to London tour guides, Oliver Cromwell's head was used as a football up and down Ludgate and then put on display in a museum. People really didn't like him, seemingly.

Love the info on the platypus and the echidna! I remember being quite upset as a child to learn that the platypus was poisonous. Previous to that it had been one of my favourite animals and looked so darned cuddly!

Grow Up said...

Isn't the platypus also venomous? Unusual in a mammal.

@Jay: Cromwell deserved worse, ask anyone in Ireland.

Ronda Laveen said...

Love the little platypus. Nasty, poisonous spurs on his back legs? I never knew!

nick said...

No, not my favourite Aussie animal. I go for the koala or the possum. I heard that the platypus looked so strange to the first Europeans who saw it, they suspected it was some kind of fraud.

tut-tut said...

Sad to contemplate those who were there. macho cultures sweeping away everything in there wake.

Yet the indigenous animals still remain. Hmm.

Candie Bracci said...

Wow,interesting Baino.That creature really lay eggs?Nature how weird and mysterious.And thank you to talk about sad facts as well,this is important some have short memory about history and where they did come from.

Have a great day!

Susan said...

Poor Pemulwuy! I love your mention of the tree watching history most of all.

Grannymar said...

I never liked the look of those fellows!

Jay said 'It's quite horrifying to reflect on the things people did in the past, isn't it?'

Alas, I am not sure we are much better nowadays.

willow said...

The word "platypus" always brings a lot of laughs at our house. It's a long story, having to do with our daughter when she was seven and a school poem.

Wings said...

So interesting, you live in a truly unique place! Thanks for sharing. :)

Cuppa Jo said...

A wonderul post and so educational! Thank you!

Marianna said...

Well I can tell you about "platypus" is also greek for wide (platy)--feet (pus) lol

Great TT post!
take care
peace and love

Tom said...

The naturalist hero in one of O'Brian's Master and Commander books was scratched by a platypus, and nearly died... that was the first time i'd heard of poisoness mammels..
they are the weirdest creature alive today!

The Clever Pup said...

Rave on! The humble monotreme. Monotremes as egg-laying mammals was one of those facts that my son came up with from watching educational TV when he was about 5. I have a soft spot for them.

steph said...

I had an operation to fixate my shoulder joint many years ago. It was called a "Putti-Platt" procedure.

I've referred to it ever since as my Platypus shoulder! :-)

Baino said...

Bit leathery apparently Wuffa like reptile eggs.

They are cute Kath . . I think I prefer the furry animules

Oh we tried genocide with our indigenous population Subby and then decided to 'breed' the white out. Oh and we stole their children and gave them to white families. Things are improving but rural aborigines still have a tough time.

They're comical fellows actually Brian. Haven't seen one around here for a very long time though.

DBM, you've been to Australia? Well done, savior of the Echidna!

Ah Megan! You eat chicken don't you? They've only got one hole!

Only at a pinch Ces, although we do eat our national emblems!

River, lets see if I'm that clever on Sunday! There's a stash of them in my bedroom! It's a problem isn't it . . I don't think many go through to year 12.

Mrsupole, pretty much, we're ina process of 'reconciliation' for the harm done in the past. There are few aboriginal people in the cities, most live way outback but in quite dire conditions. Alcoholism and disease are still a big problem.

Jay it has a poisonous spike on it's back legs apparently but they're so hard to spot and so shy, not much risk of damage to humans! I've only everseen one in the wild. They're very fussy about habitat.

GrowUp . .I had a crush on Richard Harris as a teen, he played Cromwell in a movie! (I know, I know . . )

But Ronda they're so little and cute . .Platypus, not the spines.

Nick it does look like an aussie version of a Flabbit. Even funnier swimming, it closes it's eyes and feels for food with electrical impulses in it's bill.

tut-tut we did a good job of decimating the aboriginal population during what some call the 'invasion' of Australia. We're slowly coming to terms with it but things still need to vastly improve. Seems it's easy to subjugate a minority indigenous population.

Candie lay eggs they do.And they both have a pouch to keep their young.

It's an amazing tree susan but unfortunately, slowly dying. Must be about 300 years old.

Grannymar some truth to that only these days we don't invade, we just ignore. Well with the exception of Iraq perhaps.

Willow it's an odd name for sure. Something to do with webbed feet!

No worries Wings. That's what being the world's largest island does for you!

We aim' to please Cuppa!

exactly where the name came from Marianna . . it has stumpy webbed tootsies!

Tom I haven't read the book but he did well to catch one! They're nocturnal and very elusive, a little literary license perhaps?

Clever, I wonder why we don't call birds monotremes?

Haha . . I'll remember that one Steph!

DineometerDeb said...

Excellent post. I am a fan of the platypus.

Melissa said...

Very cool! And very cute! Just the other day I was making scrambled eggs for the girls and Charlotte asked how I knew that they hadn't been "sprayed" ... I asked, "Do you mean fertilized?" She nodded, totally serious, and I had a hard time not laughing. :D

Rinkly Rimes said...

You might enjoy my Aboriginal story about the platypus at

I live 'up the road' in Newcastle.

Anonymous said...

Oh great! Thanks Marianna, now I have platypus feet!

kj said...

ohmy, what a thought: one hole, one stop everything!

baino, i like that you say 'my land'. you sound like an explorer who has staked her claim.

here's wishing you a fine weekend. maybe do something unpredictable and wild?? xoxo!

reyjr said...

very interesting! :D

California Girl said...

did you take the photos? love the history and information and indigenous species. I'm converted!

Baino said...

G'day and welcome Debs! Yeh they're cute huh. Actually the kids had the TV on this morning and there was a documentary on Platypus! There's still a whole lot we don't actually know about them!

Melissa . . truth and innocence from the mouths of babes. You sure she didn't mean with insecticide!

G'day to you too Rinky. always nice to increase the Aussie contingency. I'll pop over.

Haha Subby . . you're a furry hamstery thing with glasses and big feet? If it's any consolation, I have a platygirth

Oh kj don't you get squeamish now, you eat eggs don't you?

Thanks Rejr. I love these Theme Thursday things. Still have to catch up on a few.

No Calif. Unfortunately they are elusive beasties and not common to the outer burbs of Sydney. I have once seen them in the wild but far from home. I stole these from Google images.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it is a tragedy what the white people have done around the world to aboriginal peoples....

fascinating natural history information monotremes

great take on the theme!

hoppy easter!

kj said...

what does my being squeamish have to do with you having a wild weekend? do something totally unpredictable, baino. please, do it for me....!

VE said...

Those platypus are an odd creature! Oh, and I may not be aboriginal but I am abnoriginal...

Baino said...

Mouse, when I have the stamina, I may do something more serious on the subject. It's a tough one. And a very hoppy Easter to you as well. I've just come back from the Royal Easter Show to a swag of bunnies eating my front lawn, damn feral perils!

kj, I meant about holes and eggs. Believe me this weekend isn't predictable but it is busy . . I sang all four verses of Waltzing Matilda with 2 million other people this evening, does that rate?

VE, nothing 'ab' about you, you're very original. Personally I'm abordiginal . .I think I stole it from Ben Stiller.

Good night everyone. I am truly knackered after doing the Easter Show (against my better judgement) Pics and discourse to follow and have realised that every bogun in Sydney was also there today!

Melanie said...

I grew up in the dandenongs many many moons ago and there were a fair few echindnas back then but I only glimpsed one platypus. No doubt both are gone now. Which would normally be an opening for me to rant about stupid humans etc but I wont, even though I really really want to lol

Renee said...

so interesting. I love learning new things.

Love Renee xoxo

lettuce said...

so bizarre but also so cute!

Kris said...

My home town is the platypus capital of the world!

Colette Amelia said...

so very interesting! So sad about the history of so many Colonized lands.

happy easter!

Dakota Bear said...

Thank you for the information. You have taught me something this week that I didn't know.