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Platypus

Platypus Facts

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderMonotremata
FamilyOrnithorhynchidae
GenusOrnithorhynchus
Scientific NameOrnithorhynchus Anatinus
TypeMammal
DietOmnivore
Size40-60cm (15.7-23.6in)
Weight0.7-2.4kg (1.5-5.3lbs)
Top Speed35km/h (22mph)
Life Span15-20 years
LifestyleSolitary
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
ColourBrown, Grey, Black
Skin TypeFur
Favourite FoodShrimp
HabitatFreshwater creeks, rivers and lakes
Average Litter Size2
Main PreyShrimp, Insects, Fish Eggs
PredatorsFox, Snakes, Crocodile
Special FeaturesBroad, flat beak and venomous spike on the back foot of males

Platypus Location

Map of Platypus Locations
Map of Oceania

Platypus

The platypus, specifically the Duck-Billed Platypus, is indigenous to eastern Australia and Tasmania, with the platypus being one of the only mammals that lays eggs (the only other mammal that does lay eggs is the echidna) as mammals generally give birth to live young.

The platypus is known to have extremely weird characteristics such as egg-laying, otter-footed, duck-billed and beaver-tailed. The platypus also has webbed feet similar to an aquatic bird like a duck so it is no wonder than when the first European encountered the platypus, no-one would believe them about the animal they had seen.

The male platypus has a venomous spike on their back foot which contains enough poison that could cause severe pains to a human. This venomous spike is vital in the self defense of the platypus and it is believed that the venom amount increases during the breeding season, so it is also used to exert dominance. The male platypus is normally bigger than the female platypus, with the female platypus weighing an average of 1,200g.

Platypus spend most of their time in the water, eating fish but the platypus does come onto land quite often. Platypus are one of the only mammals to locate their prey using electroreception, which means that the platypus often detects prey by the electric fields that the prey produces.

The platypus is a semi-aquatic animal and can be found inhabiting streams and rivers in the colder highlands of Australia and Tasmania, as well as tropical rainforests. The platypus is prey to many predators including foxes and snakes and there are known to be only small numbers of platypus found in the North of Australia, possibly due to the number of crocodiles that inhabit the area.

The breeding season of the platypus is between the winter months (the Australian winter that is) if June and October. The female makes her burrow deeper and fills it with wet leaves to provide bedding. The female platypus lays an average of two, leathery eggs which hatch in about a month. The platypus babies are born blind and hairless and therefore extremely vulnerable.

When it is not the mating season, the platypus lives in burrows that are about 30 cm deep, and they spend about 12 hours a day hunting in the water. The platypus species is under threat as the platypus is very susceptible to dirty water, and increased levels of pollution do not help them at all.