By any standard, the duck-billed platypus is a curious animal. Here are a few interesting platypus facts:
- The platypus is a mammal well-adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle. It has a streamlined body, flattened tail, and waterproof fur.
- The platypus has a duck-like bill. The bill is soft and pliable and used to probe for prey on river beds. The bill is sensitive to weak electrical fields generated by its prey.
- It has large, webbed feet used for propulsion through water and partially webbed hind feet that act as a rudder.
- It swims by “rowing” with its broad front feet—pulling first on one side, then on the other. It can also use its rear paws as a comb for grooming.
- The males have a venomous horny spur on each hindfoot.
- The platypus is an egg-laying mammal.
- The young are hatched blind, naked, and 1 inch (2.5cm) long. After four months they are 13 inches (33cm) long and covered with fur and ready to start hunting on their own.
Platypus are native to eastern Australia and Tasmania. They live in burrows by ponds and streams. They grow from 18 to 24 inches (45-60cm) long from bill to tail and weigh about 1 ¾ to 5 ½ pounds (0.8-2.5kg).
The platypus’ scientific name is Ornithorhynchus anatinus.