Platypus

An animal with a beak, fur and webbed-feet that also lays eggs and secretes venom? Meet platypus, The king of weirdos!

JohnCarnemolla

A creature that indeed seems like nature’s patchwork and is one of the most extraordinary mammals to grace the planet. Its discovery left the scientific community of the 18th century in disbelief, challenging the established norms of zoological classification and compelling a reevaluation of the natural world’s complexity. This semi-aquatic mammal, native to eastern Australia and Tasmania, embodies a suite of features that seem to draw from various animals, yet it is perfectly adapted to its specific ecological niche.

At first glance, the platypus appears to be an improbable amalgamation of traits: it has the bill and webbed feet reminiscent of ducks, the tail of a beaver, and the sleek, furry body of an otter. Their bill, far from being just an oddity, is an extraordinary sensory organ. It is packed with electroreceptors and mechanoreceptors, enabling the platypus to detect the electrical signals generated by the muscular contractions of its prey and sense movements in the water. This sensory adaptation allows the platypus to forage for food, such as insects, larvae, and small crustaceans, in murky waters or under the cover of night.

As a monotreme, the platypus is one of the few mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. After laying one to three eggs, the female incubates them by curling around them for about ten days until they hatch. The mother then feeds the young with milk secreted from mammary glands, although, like the echidna, the platypus lacks nipples, with milk being released through pores in the skin.

Additionally, male platypuses possess a venomous spur on their hind legs, a rare trait among mammals. While not lethal to humans, the venom can cause severe pain and swelling, serving as a means of defense against predators or aggression during mating season.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Australia
300,000
NT
2014

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No