Platypus
Info and Facts about Platypus: The most unusual animal on the planet

Platypus Facts

The platypus lives in rivers and lakes in eastern Australia.
During the day it sleeps in an underground hole at the edge of the water. It wakes up at dusk and dives into the water to look for dinner.

The platypus is a fantastic swimmer.
It has a big, flat tail, webbed front feet, and waterproof fur. When it dives, it shuts its eyes, nose and ears completely. The platypus can stay underwater for up to 10 minutes. ...

 

... The platypus eats shrimp, crayfish and other creatures that live on the bottom of the river. Occasionally it also eats frogs, fish or insects.

When muscles move, a little bit of electricity is made. The platypus has special organs that sense this electricity - More about Platypus Electric Field

This animal also has special sensors that can feel changes in water pressure. Using the two senses together, the platypus can feel something that moves, and swoop to catch it.

The platypus is unusual in other ways, too. It is a mammal but it doesn't give birth to live young. The platypus lays eggs just like birds do.

Also, although they look cute, the male platypus has a poisonous spur on its hind foot. If it scratches you, you have to see a doctor.

You can see platypus only in Australia. There are no specimens overseas, even in zoos, as it is illegal to export wild animals and none have been bred in captivity for 50 years.

Although exact numbers are impossible to calculate, the platypus is not considered endangered. It is officially classified as "common but potentially vulnerable". Experts guess that the platypus population may run into tens of thousands and some say the total may even top 100,000.

A fully grown male, on average, measures 50 centimeters and females 44 centimeters. They can live to 13 in the wild. The longest-living animal in captivity was 17.

Unlike other mammals, the female platypus does not have nipples. She secretes milk from two patches on her belly and her baby drinks by rubbing his bill from side to side across the patches and slurping.

The platypus is the only venomous Australian mammal. Adult males have a 1.5-centimetre-long spur above the heel on each hind leg which can inject poison. While not life-threatening to humans, they can cause pain and swelling. The spurs are most likely designed as weapons to be used when competing for mates.

The platypus can reduce its need for oxygen when diving by lowering its heart rate from more than two hundred beats per minute to fewer than 10.

The platypus' double coat traps air next to the skin, keeping the animal dry even in the water.

Platypuses spend up to 17 hours a day resting in their burrows.

A platypus will drown if deprived of air for more than a few minutes.

Ten per cent of platypus found in Diamond Creek had rubbish caught on their bodies.

When feeding, platypus store food in pouches in their cheeks.

The platypus uses only its front limbs for swimming. The front feet are webbed to act as paddles but, on land, the webs fold under the feet to make walking easier. The hind limbs help with stability.

Each platypus has numerous burrows throughout its home-range, ensuring a safe refuge is always close. Nesting burrows range from five to 30 metres long; camping burrows are less than four metres.

 Platypus

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