The Platypus is an extremely different Mammal found in Eastern Australia
HABITAT and BEHAVIOUR
The shy Platypus is found only in eastern Australia, where they live on the edges of rivers and freshwater lakes where burrows can be dug.
The best streams are ones where the
banks are strong enough for building their deep burrows, and often these banks overhang the river.
During the day, a Platypus often rests in this burrow, but it may spend some hours near the entrance to the burrow, basking in the sun and grooming its dense fur.
But Platypuses (or platypi) are most active for several hours after dusk and before dawn.
Platypuses are renound for their excellence in the water as both a diver and swimmer
Whilst underwater the Platypus has its eyes and ears shut and, being buoyant, it must continuously swim downwards with its webbed forefeet to remain submerged. Webbing on the front feet extends well beyond the claws, forming large paddles for swimming. The hindfeet of the Platypus are also webbed but are employed in steering or braking - not in propulsion.,
platypuses can swim underwater for two minutes, but may 'rest' underneath a submerged object for up to 10 minutes.
Dense fur fibres trap a layer of air next to the skin, giving excellent insulation for an animal that spends up to 12 hours each day in water as cold as 0 degrees Celsius.
The Platypus has a bill that resembles a duck's bill but is actually an elongated snout covered with soft, moist, leathery skin and sensitive nerve endings. The body of the platypus is 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in) long; the flattened tail measures 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) in length. The feet are webbed. The body and tail are covered with a thick, soft, woolly layer of fur, from which long, flat hairs protrude.
The platypus has three layers of fur:
1. an inside layer to trap air and keep the animal warm
2. a middle layer which works like a wet suit
3. an outer layer to feel if it is close to objects
A Platypus grows to a maximum weight of 1 to 2.4 kg (2.2 to 5.3 lb).
The Platypus is known to live for at least 12 years in the wild
The male Platypus has a sharp, hollow, horny spur about 15 millimetres long on the inside of both hind leg ankles. This is connected to a venom gland which produces a very strong toxin. The spur can be used in defence against predators (the venom can cause excruciating pain in humans and is strong enough to kill a dog.) but the fact that it is restricted to the male - and that the gland reaches its greatest development in the mating season - suggests that it is normally employed in aggressive encounters between males.
The Platypus usally feeds at night on aquatic insect larvae, shrimps and worms by dabbling in mud or silt on the bottom of rivers and freshwater lakes with its sensitive, flexible, duck-like snout, aided by . electroreceptors (electronic sense) on its bill
These are stored in the cheek pouches and will be chewed after returning to the
The Platypus can eat their own body weight in food in one night
Monotremes are a sub family of Mammals and there are only 2 animals that belong to this sub family Platypus and Echidnas.
monotremes lay eggs rather than giving birth to their young.
........................................Click on Echidna pic to go to my Echidna page
Platypus males are larger than females. Mating occurs once a year, beginning in late June in the warmer northern parts and in October in the southern part. The female usually lays two eggs ( the soft leathery egg resembles a reptiles egg) but may lay up to four and incubates these against her abdomen
(by clasping them with its tail)for about two weeks in a blocked-off nest at the end of a long breeding burrow. The young "puggle" have no fur when they hatch.
The female has no teats. Milk is produced in large glands under her skin which oozes out onto a patch of fur and the young Platypus (puggle) sucks it up.
THREATS and PRESERVATION
The biggest threat to the Platypus is the loss of Habitat, as man clears land and pollutes the waterways.
Natural enemies of the platypus includes, snakes, water rats, goannas, and foxes (that were introduced). Taronga Zoo in Sydney and the Healesville Sancturary in Victoria have succesfully bred platypuses in captivity.