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20 February 2012

Healesville Sanctuary has celebrated another world first breeding success with the arrival of twin Platypus known as 'puggles'.

The twins, a boy and a girl, went on display today at Healesville Sanctuary, for a limited time only.

Although born in October, the Platypus puggles emerged from their burrow a few days ago. They are four months old.

Visitors have the chance to name the twins, from a list of 20 Wurrundjeri names honouring the indigenous people whose lands encompass the area where Healesville Sanctuary is today. Winners will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Platypus breeding facility and will meet the Puggle twins. Competition forms are available at Healesville Sanctuary. 

Ten year old Mum Binarri has now produced six offspring, including twins in 2008. Two-year old Tarrabi is a first time Dad, the youngest known sire on record both in the wild and in captivity.

Healesville Sanctuary is one of only two institutions to have recorded breeding success with Platypus. In 1943, the Sanctuary hatched the first Platypus (Corrie) ever bred in captivity (an event that made front page news in London and New York). It took 55 years to repeat that success with the birth of twin Platypus in 1998 (Barak and Yarra Yarra), in 2000 (MacKenzie) and 2008 (Burran and Waddirang), a female (Ember) who emerged just after the Victorian bushfires in 2009 and Mamouk last year.

Visitors can learn more about the secret life of this unique Australian animal at the daily Keeper talk at 1pm. 

This year, Jessica Thomas, Senior Threatened Species Keeper, used behaviour research data she had collected over the past three breeding seasons to predict the arrival of twin Platypus back in November. Jessica begins her PhD into Platypus next month. 

Baby Platypuses are not only emerging at Healesville Sanctuary right now—they are emerging for the first time out in the wild too. 

"Many of them do not survive as they get out-competed for limited food and get tangled in human rubbish and illegal yabby traps. People can help them by using phosphate-free detergents and cleaning products, stop using illegal opera house yabby nets in our public waterways and putting rubbish in the bin," Ms Thomas said.

Keep up with the latest news on our platypus babies at our Keeper Blog.

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