The Platypus

The duck-billed platypus is a very interesting mammal. While mammals have: fur or hair, reproduces by live birth, and uses lungs to breath, the duck-billed platypus is an exception because it does not give birth to live young, it lays eggs. In my report you will learn about its habitat, appearance, and behavior.

The word platypus means flat feet in Greek. When a platypus was shown to scientists in the 1700’s in London, they thought it was a joke because none of them had ever seen such an unusual animal before. Today, platypuses live only in Australia, but platypus fossils have been in Argentina (South America). 

This egg-laying mammal has an oval shaped body, a duck’s beak, and a flat tail. It only weighs between 1 and 4 pounds and its body is about is 12-18 inches long. A platypus tail is 4 or 5 inches long. This creature has thick brown fur to keep itself warm in cold water. It also has claws that are used for digging and walking. 

The platypus lives only in the eastern coast of Australia. where it is hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. It makes its home where there is water, such as rivers, streams and lakes.  It makes a burrow to sleep in and to lay eggs because there is safe from predators. The platypus is nocturnal, so it sleeps during the day. Most of its time is spent in hard to find burrows. 

Lying near the water help this mammal find crustaceans, insect larvae, worms,  fish, tadpoles and other small creatures to eat. The male has poisonous spurs, which they use when fighting over a mate. They are powerful enough to kill a dog.  Platypuses mate in the spring, which is between August and October. The female platypus can lay up to 3 eggs. They eat with their eyes closed. If you go to Australia, be sure to see this fascinating creature with it’s  ducks beak hunting for food in its natural habitat.

by Asa

picture from Wikipedia

Back to Our Animal Stories