Australian Platypus Facts


There are some interesting Australian platypus facts.


Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is one of the strangest of all Australian animals. When European scientists first saw it, they were confused – here they had an animal with a duck-like bill and a tail of an otter, which is poisonous, produces milk like mammals and lays eggs like reptiles. It was finally classified as a mammal, and together with echidna it belongs to the group of monotremes. Here are some platypus facts such as what it eats and where it lives, as well as platypus venom, eggs, life cycle and typical platypus habitat.

Duck-Billed Platypus, Ornithorhynchus Anatinus, Swimming
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Australian Platypus Habitat
Although platypus is the only living member of the Ornithorhyncidae family, many different species have existed during the past 120 million years. Today this only species is found in the coastal eastern Australia and Tasmania. It lives in freshwater creeks and lakes and has adapted to different climates from tropical rainforests to cold alpine country.
 
An Underwater View of a Platypus
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Platypus Facts and Platypus Venom

Platypus is about 600mm long, weighs up to 3kg, and has a tail, a leathery bill, webbed forefeet and thick brown fur. It stores fat in the tail and uses it for energy when food is limited. It is usually a quiet animal, but can growl when disturbed. Male has venomous spurs on back feet which give you rash and muscular weakness but it doesn’t kill you.
 
An Elevated View of a Platypus Featuring its Bill
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What Do Platypuses Eat
Platypus is a solitary animal and mostly nocturnal. During the day it hides in a burrow, and from dusk to dawn it swims to catch the prey, stores it in cheek pouches, and then comes to surface to chew it up. It is a carnivore - it eats freshwater invertebrates such as insects, yabbies and snails, and occasionally small fish and frogs.
Platypus
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Platypus Eggs and Life Cycle of Platypus
Its breeding season is from August to October, depending on the local climate. Females are mature at two years and lay one to three 17mm long sticky eggs which hatch in 10-12 days. The young are 15mm long when they hatch and they suck milk from ducts on their mother’s abdomen, because she’s got no nipples. When she goes foraging, she hides the young in a burrow. The young leave the burrow in about six weeks, and are independent at about four months. They can live up to 21 years.
 
Close-Up of a Female Duck-Billed Platypus with Two Eggs (Ornithorhynchus Anatinus)
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Are Platypuses Endangered?

Platypus does move on land when it has to change from pool to pool, and that’s when it risks to get killed by the introduced Australian animals such as red foxes and dingoes. But luckily platypus is not considered endangered, it's species status is secure in Australia.

Duck-Billed Platypus, Ornithorhynchus Anatinus, Swimming
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Where Do Platypuses Live?
Good places to see Australian platypus are Atherton Tablelands as well as Eungella National Park (including Finch Hatton but only when it's quiet), Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland, Murray River in Victoria, and Mt Field and Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania. The best time to see platypus is at dusk and dawn - which is also the case with most of other Australian animals.
 















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