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Sketch artist Jarmo Sinisalo’s rendition of a Canadian platypus based on multiple reports around Man


"duck beaver"

The platypus, native only to eastern Australia, is already a very strange animal, often being compared to a real chimaera. They are egg laying venomous beavers with duck bills, lizard feet, no stomach, lactate through sweating, and hunt through sensing electrical signals. Although they are very famously Australian in origin, even being on their 20 cent coin, it’s quite baffling that there’s reports of platypi in Canada. Although cryptozoologists have known about phantom platypi encounters since the mid 90’s, Canadian Cryptozoologist John Warms became especially influential, recording multiple reports of unusually large platypi in various lakes and rivers in Manitoba, as well as eastern Saskatchewan and western Ontario. According to various first nations elders, these platypi are actually native animals and they are called sîsîp-amisk, or sîsîp-opôtâcikêsîs, translating to “duck-beaver” or “duck mole”. Although the idea of giant platypi somehow being in Canada sounds extremely far fetched, various monotremes (egg laying mammals) did historically live in the Americas. For example, Monotrematum, which was a platypus species nearly twice the size of currently living Australian species that was discovered in the Salamanca Formation in southern Argentina in 1992.

Around 1950, a young boy claimed to have found a “beaked beaver” on the eastern shore of Lake Of The Woods, near Sioux Narrows, Ontario. He killed the poor animal with a rock, but lied and said he found it dead. He showed it to his parents, and had no idea what it was. They then showed it to his teacher, and she identified it as a platypus and threw it away, seemingly unaware they are only native to Australia.

In the late 50’s, a Ketchikan businessman and retired fisherman named Mike F. was on the rocky shoreline south of Mountain Point in Alaska right on the BC border. He claimed that for about a minute, close range, he saw a creature he likened to a giant platypus, around six ft long. It had dark fur, and the distinct bill and spurred feet, matching that of a platypus. In 1989, a teacher named Susan Lackie claimed to have seen a platypus with a black beak with orange sides slide into the water at a lake near Pukatawagan, Manitoba.

Another sighting was in the mid 90’s from Nelson House in northern Manitoba, when a couple were paddling around the shore of a lake when they heard something jump into the water behind them. They ignored the noise, dismissing it as a beaver, and continued on their way. Shortly after, they saw the creature that presumably made the noise swim under their canoe. They described it as being very similar to a beaver, but with a broad, flat bill. Its feet and the edges of its bill had a slight orange tinge.

Some time in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, a man from Lake Manitoba First Nation claimed to have killed a platypus when he was younger. He claimed it was slightly larger then a beaver, with dark brown fur, webbed feet and the distinct bill. According to John Warms, who interviewed the man, he was told that many elders knew of this creature.

At an unspecified date, Leonard Nasikapow claimed to have seen a platypus cross the road while driving down a road next to Moose Lake, near The Pas, Manitoba. Since it was broad daylight, he saw the animal in great detail and described it as having brown fur, stubby legs, greyish black bill and walked in a waddling motion. The bill and tail were both about 20 cm long. Although he was surprised, never seeing such an animal before (or since), he never investigated, assuming it was a known animal. There were sightings of platypi as far north as Shamattawa, which is more north then Winisk, and as far east as Sioux Narrows in Ontario.

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