My work library, (USQ), had some hidden gems and this week’s book snap is one of those; Paradoxical Platypus: hobnobbing with duckbills by the Australian naturalist David Fleay. This is such a delightful read, as entertaining and interesting as anything by great animal authors like Gerald Durrell. I grew up reading Gerald Durrell’s books but never read anything by David Fleay, in hindsight that seems remiss. Fleay writes beautifully about this magical animal and his lifetime involvement with the species, including how he came to be the first person to breed the platypus in captivity, an event so rare that it has only occurred a few times since Fleays early success. The book also gives fascinating insight into the early management of zoos in Australia and attitudes to our distinct wildlife.

Aside from all the obvious natural history information, and much of what is known of the platypus, originates with Fleay and his early work on keeping and breeding the animals, the book is filled with interesting anecdotes like; Hush hush platypus – a wartime secret, a story I alluded to in a previous post and other accounts of the platypus doing its bit for the nation via animal diplomacy. This is a great read, well worth checking out and in case anyone is interested the call no. in the USQ library is 599.1 Fle.

The book is beautifully and extensively illustrated with colour and black and white images that accompany Fleay’s entertaining text. This is just a fantastic read and if this book is not still in print it should be. When I took it off the shelf I did not expect to be so enthralled, my interest and appreciation of these fascinating animals has grown.

#BookSnapSunday is a weekly bookish Instagram meme hosted here at Gum trees and Galaxies.com, if you would like to join in please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments below. All you have to do is post an image of a book. Happy reading!

File:Platypus BrokenRiver QLD Australia.jpg
image: Peter Scheunis  Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 Generic license.

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