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Animal Facts: Platypus




 

In this page we will look at the platypus.

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Are platypuses venomous?

Indeed they are. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male platypus has a spur on the hind foot that injects venom capable of killing small animals and causing severe pain in humans. Female platypuses do not have this spur.

The platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal that lives in eastern Australia and Tasmania. Although it is a mammal, it lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

The picture below shows the venom spur on the platypuses’ leg.


The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first saw it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. The unique features of the Platypus make it an easily recognizable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin.

The Platypus is an excellent swimmer and spends much of its time in the water foraging for food. Uniquely among mammals it propels itself when swimming by alternate rowing motion with the front two feet; although all four feet of the Platypus are webbed. The hind feet (which are held against the body) do not assist in propulsion, but are used for steering in combination with the tail.

The Platypus is a carnivore: it feeds on annelid worms and insect larvae, freshwater shrimps, and yabbies (freshwater crayfish) that it digs out of the riverbed with its snout or catches while swimming. It utilizes cheek-pouches to carry prey to the surface where they are eaten. The Platypus needs to eat about 20% of its own weight each day. This requires the Platypus to spend an average of 12 hours each day looking for food.




The following video shows the different features of a platypus.
The platypus is a strange mix of different traits, including a venomous spur used in male to male combat.
Platypus: World's Strangest Animal.
The secrets of platypus revealed


 

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