Platypus Showdown: Rare Video Captures Intense Battle as Tasmanian Farmer Witnesses the Fierce Struggle of These Unique Creatures

‘They did not let up’: rare video of platypuses fighting captured by Tasmanian farmer

Rare footage of platypuses fighting in the wild – video | Australia news | The Guardian

For 20 minutes Esme Atkinson stood near the bank of a dam at the farm where she works watching the two platypuses spinning each other around in circles, similar to a “crocodile roll”, and lift their bodies upright using their back tail in order to tussle with their feet.

Dr Gilad Bino, a platypus researcher at the University of New South Wales Centre for Ecosystem Science, said this behaviour is normal for male platypuses as they battle to be the alpha in the eyes of female platypuses in the lead up to breeding season in September.

Bino said it is not unusual for male platypuses, which are nocturnal and often skittish, to have scarring from the battle wounds around this time of year. Although it is rare for humans to spot this sparring behaviour.

Esme Atkinson captured and shared the video via Instagram describing the showdown as a “Platypus fight club!”. According to The Guardian, she spotted the contestants along the water’s edge near a dam on the farm where she works in northern Tasmania and watched the pugilistic proceedings for some 20 minutes. “They did not let up in the time I was there, I could have stayed for longer but felt I was imposing,” Atkinson’s quoted as saying.

The tussle she filmed is a vigorous one, to say the least, with much thrashing and grappling along the shoreline. Uncommon to actually spy though it might be (as the retiring, mainly nocturnal platypus is in general), the fight has a clear-cut explanation: It likely represents a territorial match between two male platypuses keen on spending some quality time with receptive females.

As the late-winter and spring breeding season approaches, male platypuses generally get more aggressive. And this mounting feistiness coincides with enhancement of their primary weapon, one that sets them apart from nearly all other mammals (and seems incongruous for such a cuddly-looking little bugger): a venomous spur on both of their hindlegs.

This time of year, the spurs enlarge, and the glands that supply them beef up venom production. (Female platypuses boast a vestigial spur structure when young, but it doesn’t deliver venom and usually falls off within their first year.)

Although it’s possible venomous spurs originally evolved as a defensive weapon – they land a very painful, though non-fatal, wound in humans – biologists believe their primary function in the male platypus these days is for duking it out over breeding territory and access to females. The spur can be “cocked” at a right angle to the hindleg when the platypus is ready to deliver a venom-barbed kick.


Related Posts

Battle for the Feast: Lion Defends Buffalo Kill Against Hyenas, Ultimately Overwhelmed by Pack’s Sheer Numbers

A lion realised he had bitten off more than he could chew when he briefly battled with a large hyena clan over a freshly killed buffalo in…

Savannah Showdown: Wildebeest’s Brave Resistance Throws Attacking Lion, Achieves Victory Over Two Predatory Big Cats in Epic Stand

These are the amazing scenes as a wildebeest fights off a pair of lionesses who were planning to dine upon the large animal. This is the moment…

Intense Wildlife Duel: Two Bull Elk Lock Horns in a Battle, While Cow Elk Nearby Remains Unfazed

Anyone want to try and break up the fight between these two bull elk? No? Didn’t think so. You’d have to be the perfect mixture of courageous…

Fearless Encounter: Small Grizzly Bear Stands its Ground Against Aggressive Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

Usually having the high ground in a battle is beneficial, but it didn’t work out like that in this Yellowstone National Park standoff. The grizzly bear in…

A tense standoff unfolds: Lioness retreats to a tree as protective elephant defends her territory in the Central Serengeti.

The lioness made the potentially fatal mistake of entering the elephant’s territory, and when she was discovered the grey beast was, quite literally, hot on her tail….

Epic Video: Mother Rhino’s Heroic Stand Against Massive African Elephant to Safeguard Her Baby in Heart-Pounding Jungle Encounter

This is the incredible moment a mother rhino took on a much bigger elephant that tried to chase the pair away from a waterhole. The footage was…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *