Before I die, I want to see a platypus. If you don’t know what a platypus is, just imagine that a beaver and a duck decide to rent a cheap hotel for a night, and … oh forget it. Here’s a goddamn picture:
Despite its cuddly appearance, this furry friend has a venomous ankle spur that’s powerful enough to kill a small dog. The venom won’t kill a human, but it’ll set off a bout of excruciating pain that will probably make you wish you were a small dog.
Who-da-cuttie pie? Ohhhhhh! Who-da-cutie-wootie-woo … Shit! It just stabbed me! What the hell? Boy, that hurt! Gee wiz, that pain just gets right into your bone marrow, doesn’t it? Oh, okay, woah, I feel like a thousand blunt knives are slashing at my central nervous system. SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY, SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL ME NOW!
It’s all pretty standard stuff in the magical land of Australia. We have a range of exceptionally talented animals that excel at killing, stinging, burning, clawing, or punching, so why not this little guy too?
Platypuses hang out in estuaries, and they can be spotted at dusk. My partner and I often go to an accommodation on the Great Ocean Road beside a river, which is rumored to be populated by platypuses. Every time we stay there, we head out at dusk to search for these beaked beavers. We pour glasses of wine and we take chairs to the rivers edge. As the sun goes down, and a chilly wind blows in, we sit in silence and patiently wait …
And wait …
And wait …
And wait …
… for absolutely nothing to happen.
We’ve canoed down the river, we’ve canoed up the river, and once, out of desperation, we walked upstream to a paddock that had signs warning “Keep out! Deadly tiger snake colony here!”, which really should’ve read, “Keep out! Territorial bull will make you lose your dignity!” Because I really could’ve used a heads-up on that one.
The only thing we see is a whole lot of beautiful nothingness.
And ducks. Lots of ducks. (I bet they’re looking for a date with a beaver.)
Have you ever gone out of your way to spot an exotic animal? Did you see it? And am I the only Australian who has never seen a platypus in the wild?