Platypus


This wonder of nature combines many unusual features such as a bill & webbed feet of a duck, yet is covered in fur, feeds its young milk after it emerges from an egg and swims and feeds in the streams and rivers of eastern Australia.

It belongs to a unique group of animals called monotremes. The only other monotreme is the echidna.

The platypus dives to the bottom of waterways to stir up debris to feed on freshwater insects and their larvae, shrimps, yabbies, worms, tadpoles, small fish and frogs.

It comes to the surface every 2 minutes but can be submerged for up to 14 minutes. When not feeding it spends its time in underground burrows generally 1 – 3 meters in length but nursery burrows can be up to 20 metres long.

The mother usually lays about 2 eggs which she holds between her curled up tail and belly until they hatch in about 10 days. The young are fed on milk produced not from nipples but from patches of skin on her belly. After 3 months the young are big enough to emerge from the burrow. They can live to about 13 years in the wild.

The platypus is classified as common but vulnerable.