What is a Platypus?
A platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal that has a very unusual appearance, it is duck-billed, has a beaver-like tail, lays eggs, has otter-like fur, and webbed feet.The platypus is only found in Eastern Australia in small rivers and streams within the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
Platypuses and echidnas are the two only mammals in the world classified as monotremes which means that they lay eggs instead of giving birth. Female platypuses lay 2-4 eggs, incubating them for weeks.
The platypus is only found in Eastern Australia in small rivers and streams with in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
The back foot ankle spun of male platypus contains venom that is powerful enough to kill small animals such as dogs. The venom is not lethal to humans, but it can cause severe pain that sometimes can last for weeks.
Platypuses can live more than 12 years in the wild. Their natural predators include snakes, water rats, hawks, owls, eagles and sometimes crocodiles.
The platypus is an excellent swimmer, diving under water for around 30 seconds for food before coming up for air.
The platypus was hunted for its fur until the early 20th century. It is now an Australian protected species. The platypus is the state animal of New South Wales (NSW).
Platypuses close their eyes and ears when under water. So, in order to feed on wormy insects and freshwater shrimps, they use their sense of electroreception and dig up muddy river beds with their bills to detect the electric fields of prey.
The platypus uses pouches in its cheeks to carry prey back to the surface where it is eaten. The platypus eats about 20% of its own weight.