Duck-Billed Platypus

ANIMAL:
Duck-Billed Platypus  Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Type of Animal:
Platypus

Habitat:
Relatively undisturbed rivers/streams/lakes/ponds/other freshwater areas (both slow & fast-moving) in variety of habitats-riverbanks, wetlands, plateaus, lowlands, tropical rainforest, mountainous areas, any area w/ reliable freshwater.

Location(s):
E Australia & Tasmania. Introduced to Kangaroo Island off of SE Australia.

Appearance:
Noticeable duck-bill, dense brown fur, webbed toes, beaver like tail

Food/Diet:
Worms, yabbies, crayfish, shrimp, water beetles, aquatic insects, insect larvae/nymphs (i.e. dragonflies, stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies-sometimes adults), mosquitoes, flies, gnats, midges, fish, frogs, aquatic snails, small clams

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos & aquariums. Strict rules on export from Australia.

Lifestyle:
Solitary

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young-Puggle
Group-Solitary
 
Weight:
Male: 1.76-6.6 lbs
Female: 1.32-3.75 lbs
 
Gestation:
1.5-2 weeks 

Life Span:
11-20 years

Body Length:
Male: 1.31-2.07 ft
Female: 1.21-1.8 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 0.89-1.65 ft
Female: 0.79-1.38 ft

Main predators of adults are crocodiles, snakes, monitor lizards, dogs, dingoes, foxes, cats, Tasmanian devils, quolls, raptors, & large eels. Water rats eat young.
 
Instead of nursing from nipples, puggles get milk from mammary gland ducts on abdomen.
 
Since they lack teeth, they’ll often ingest gravel to help digest food.
 
Primarily active at night (nocturnal).
 
Declining due to water pollution, habitat loss, land clearing, dams, & bushfires.
 
They have poor senses of sight/smell, using electroreceptors & mechanoreceptors in bills when swimming underwater.
 
State animal of New South Wales.
 
Was hunted for fur until protection measures instated in early 20th century.
 
Sleeps for average of 14 hours a day.

Fun Fact(s):
One of few venomous mammals (only males)-males have venomous spurs on hind limbs often used during breeding season to fight other males, sometimes killing them. Venom also used in defense, being lethal to many predators & extremely painful to humans, often causing rapid swelling. Sometimes, pain can last for weeks.
 
1 of only 5 mammal species that lays eggs (Monotremes)-the other 4 being the 4 extant echidna species-all of them found in New Guinea & Australia.
 
When 1st specimen sent back to England from Australia in late 18th century, scientists thought it was a hoax & two random animals sewn together. Fact it lays eggs wasn’t discovered until 100 years later.
 
They lack stomach-gullet leads directly to intestine.
 
Has been used as mascot for national events in Australia & featured on 20 cent coin.

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