Platypus

Platypus

Duck-billed platypus, Boondaburra, Mallangong, Tambreet, Tohunbuck

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
SPECIES
Ornithorhynchus anatinus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
12-20 yrs
TOP SPEED
35 km/h
WEIGHT
0.7-2.4 kg
LENGTH
43-50 cm

The platypus is a most unusual animal. The animal has thick fur that keeps it warm underwater. Most of its fur is dark brown, with a lighter patch near its eyes, and a lighter color on the underside. On its front feet is extra skin that serves as a paddle when it swims. The platypus walks clumsily on its knuckles in order to protect this webbed skin. Its bill is smooth, flexible, and rubbery, and feels like suede. The male features a venomous spike on its back foot which has enough poison to cause severe pain for a human.

No

Nocturnal

Cr

Crepuscular

Ca

Carnivore

Se

Semiaquatic

Al

Altricial

Fo

Fossorial

Na

Natatorial

Te

Territorial

Ov

Oviparous

Bu

Burrowing

Po

Polygynandry

Po

Poisonous

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

P

starts with

We

Weird Animals
(collection)

Distribution

Geography

Platypuses are found on the Eastern and Southeastern coasts of Australia as well as Tasmania, Flinders and King Islands. There is also a small introduced population on Kangaroo Island. Platypuses are restricted to streams and suitable freshwater bodies, including some shallow water storage lakes and ponds.

Platypus habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Platypuses are solitary, particularly males. If their territories overlap, they will feed at different times to avoid each other. They are generally nocturnal and crepuscular, but individuals are also active during the day, particularly when the sky is overcast. Platypuses are excellent swimmers and spend much of their time in the water foraging for food. They spend a lot of time hunting for food, up to 10 to 12 hours, and remain in their burrows when not hunting. When not in the water, platypuses retire to a short, straight resting burrow of oval cross-section, nearly always in the riverbank not far above water level, and often hidden under a protective tangle of roots.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Platypuses are carnivorous, feeding on annelid worms, freshwater shrimp, insect larvae, and freshwater yabby dug out with its snout from the riverbed or caught while swimming.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
June-October
PREGNANCY DURATION
10 days
BABY CARRYING
1-2 puggles
INDEPENDENT AGE
4-5 months
BABY NAME
puggle

Platypuses are polygynandrous, and males and females both have several partners. Females can first mate at the age of 2, but some don't until they are 5. The breeding season is between the Australian winter months of June and October. When females are ready to give birth, they burrow into the ground to seal themselves off in one of the rooms. She lays 1 or 2 eggs and keeps them warm between her rump and tail. The eggs hatch after about 10 days. The little bean-sized young remain nursing for 4 to 5 months. They stay in their burrow until they gain about 80 percent of their adult weight, around 6 months.

Population

Population threats

The largest threat to this species is the loss of habitat due to land clearance and water pollution. Predators are snakes, goannas, water rats, and foxes.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the platypus total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

The platypus, being a carnivore controls the populations of the species that it eats.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • European naturalists first thought the platypus was a hoax, and that someone had sewn together a duck's bill an otter's tail and created an animal like a beaver.
  • The name "platypus" comes from the Greek "platys," meaning broad, and "pous," which means foot.
  • The platypus can growl like a puppy.
  • The platypus uses its snout to search for prey. Its mouth is under the snout.
  • The platypus uses its tail to store fat, about 50% of its body is fat.
  • Platypuses use their front feet to paddle and steer with their back feet and tails.

References

1. Platypus Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus
2. Platypus on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40488/0

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