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Duck-Billed Platypus

Platypus swimming
Platypus swimming

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.
Duck-billed Platypus
Duck-billed Platypus – Ornithorhynchus anatinus

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.

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