Friday, January 7

Fun Facts About the Platypus

The duck-billed platypus is an unusual-looking animal that has captured the interests of people from all over the world. It has feet like an otter, a tail like a beaver, and a bill like a duck. It lays eggs like a bird and can be venomous like a snake! Read on to find out more about these fascinating creatures.

Platypuses are mammals called monotremes. Learn about what a platypus eats, where a platypus lives, and how a platypus protects itself.

This is an updated version of a blog post I wrote in 2016. Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.


Where does the platypus live?

The platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal that lives in eastern Australia and Tasmania. It lives in the streams and rivers and can be found in the tropical rain forests, along the coast. It also lives in the Australian Alps. When the platypus isn’t swimming in the water, it hides in small burrows on the riverbanks.

This platypus is hiding in the water under some branches.

What does the platypus like to eat?

The platypus is a carnivore, meaning that it likes to eat meat. It likes to eat worms, insect larva, freshwater shrimp, crayfish, mollusks, mussels, dragonflies, frog and toad eggs, and tadpoles. The platypus spends up to 12 hours each day swimming and hunting for food.

This platypus is eating a worm.
 

How does the platypus protect itself?

There are several types of animals that like to hunt and eat the platypus... animals like snakes, foxes, water rats, various birds of prey, and crocodiles. Fortunately, the platypus has some special adaptations that help it stay alive. For example, the male platypus has small spurs on the back of his feet. When he feels threatened, he will release venom from them! The venom is strong enough to kill small rodents and cause a lot of pain in people. The platypus prefers not to fight if it doesn’t have to. If it’s on land when it feels threatened, it will simply slip into the water and swim away.

Close up of a spur on a male platypus
 

How does the platypus find its food?

The platypus has a second adaptation that it uses to hunt. Its duck-shaped bill is electro-sensitive. That means the bill can sense the small electrical energy waves made by its prey. When the platypus detects energy waves with its bill, it knows that lunch is nearby.

Close up of a platypus's bill and head
 

So... what kind of animal is the platypus?

The answer is a bit complicated. The platypus lays eggs like a bird, but it is not a bird. It can live in and out of the water like an amphibian, but it is not an amphibian. The platypus is actually a mammal. It is a special kind of mammal called a monotreme. Monotremes are mammals that lay eggs, instead of giving birth to live babies. How cool is that?

Close up of the webbed feet of a platypus


Did you enjoy learning about the platypus? If so, check out these other blog posts for more fun facts about animals:

search words: duckbill, duck-bill, duckbilled, duck-billed, platypus, platypuses, platypode, platypodes, platypi

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