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World's oldest Platypus turns 25!

12 November 2018

Today, Fleay – the oldest known Platypus in the world – will celebrate her 25th birthday at Healesville Sanctuary. Platypus generally live to about 20 years old, so Fleay is well and truly a record-breaker.

Fleay loves to sleep in, and often gives her keepers a cheeky growl as they go about their morning round. Today, Fleay was happy to start her day with a good scratch from her keeper, Dr Jessica Thomas.

Despite being our ‘old lady’, Fleay is still in great health. All of the Platypus at Healesville Sanctuary are closely bonded with their keepers. Their regular training includes daily health checks that are reinforced with scratches under their bills, which the Platypus enjoy. These training sessions allow keepers to check all over the Platypus’ bodies including the fat stores in their tails. A Platypus’ tail gives a good picture of the animal’s overall health, which is why it is important to check regularly.

Fleay has lived at Healesville Sanctuary since 1993. Her favourite activity is playing in the waterfall in her exhibit; climbing to the top and belly-flopping into her pond. She also loves stripping the bark off branches placed in her tank and her favourite food is blackworms.

Fleay is named after former Healesville Sanctuary director, David Fleay, who bred the first Platypus ever hatched in captivity in 1943. Fleay’s legacy lives on today with Healesville Sanctuary renowned as a world-leader in the breeding of Platypus. Platypus are unique creatures, one of only two montremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world.

Visitors to Healesville Sanctuary can see Fleay on display at the World of the Platypus exhibit every day of the week.