Platypus – “Mysterious Mammal”

A PADDLE of Platypuses

Interesting Facts

We have so many unique and wonderful mammals in Australia, and the platypus is another, so very cute. Would you believe this little fella is related to our echidna? It is! The platypus has a bill (spoon-shaped) mouth so is also called a “duck-billed platypus”. This bill is covered with an array of receptors used to locate food in the mud at the bottom of lakes and rivers. They eat insects, larvae, shellfish, worms, frogs, and tadpoles, typically eating their own weight in a day. They don’t have any teeth, scooping a little sand and mud to assist digestion. They spend around half their time underwater. Their 4 feet are webbed which makes them excellent swimmers.

Tip to tail they grow 15-24 inches (38-60cm) and weigh up to 1.6kg as adult females and 2.4kg as males. They live up and down the east coast of Australia. Their territory can spread over several kilometers and include several burrows. In groups, they are a PADDLE of platypuses 😊.

Unlike other mammals, the platypus (and echidna) lay eggs rather than giving live birth. They build elaborate burrows using sticks and mud to call it home, which can span and dam a river. The females lay up to 3 eggs that take 6-10 days to hatch. Mum feeds the babies with milk. They live around 12 years in the wild and up to 20 years in nurtured captivity.

The males have poison-injecting spurs on their back feet and use this in fights with other males during mating season, causing great pain.

Their predators include snakes and water rats, goannas, and crocodiles.

January 7, 2024 6:27 PM