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The Cool Platypus

Updated on September 11, 2014

Ornithorhynchus anatinus

The platypus is a unique Australian mammal which lays eggs. It has a fleshy, sensitive duck bill and webbed feet, a double fur coat with a tail like a beaver, and suckles its young. It lives in most of Australia's eastern coastal districts, along the southeast coast and in Tasmania.

Platypus Sketch


Rubbery bill

The platypus feeds on aquatic life, including earthworms, freshwater crayfish and larvae. When submerged the platypus closes off its eyes, nostrils and ears (which are not normally visible) and relies on the sensitivity of its rubbery bill for direction and foraging.

It resides in a river bank burrow and is usually solitary, though other platypuses may live in the same general water space. Agile on land, the platypus moves on the knuckles of its forefeet, due to the extension of the web beyond its toes.

Platypus in Geelong


Sharp, poisonous spurs

The sleek, long fur covers a dense, shorter fur beneath, which remains dry, whether submerged or not. Male platypuses have sharp, poisonous spurs on each ankle which can cause intense pain or even kill in the case of small animals. The spurs are primarily used for combat between males during the breeding season.

What is it??

Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World
Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World

Well, what is a platypus? First, you notice the duck-like bill. Perhaps a bird? Second, you notice the fur. Perhaps a mammal? Third, you see the webbed feet. Back to bird? Fourth, close examination shows that the platypus has mammary glands. Mammal? Fifth, the platypus lays eggs that are like those of reptiles. Reptile?


Have you ever seen a Platypus?

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Lays eggs but has fur, how odd

Female platypuses usually lay two eggs, which are incubated and suckled for up to four or five months in the burrow.
On average males are about 50 centimetres long and the females 42 centimetres. Weights vary according to area but they range from as much as two kilograms for a male to as little as 700 grams for a female.

Truly unusual animal

Sydney Aquarium.
Sydney Aquarium. | Source

Hand Feeding & Playing With A Friendly Platypus

Learn About Another Cool Australian Animal


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