Bookmarkable URL:http://hdl.handle.net/10217/53487

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Monotremata
Family:Ornithorhynchidae
Genus:Ornithorhynchus
Genus species:Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Animal Characteristics

Head-Body Length:46 cm
Identification:A leathery bill, webbed feet, and a broad, flat tail are among the many distinguishing characteristics of the platypus. Also, males have ankle spurs.
Habitat:Lakes and rivers
Diet:Omnivore: crustaceans, aquatic insects, larvae, frogs, plants
Reproduction:The breeding season is from August to October. Unlike most mammals, the platypus lays eggs. The female incubates her 23 eggs for 7-14 days inside a deep burrow. They are still considered mammals because they do have mammary glands that produce milk for the young.
Behavior:As a platypus swims through the water, it keeps its eyes and ears closed, finding its way by probing with its duck-like bill. Males use their ankle spurs for defense against predators and other platypuses. Each spur has an accompanying venom gland.
Status:No special status
Interesting Facts:When the first platypus specimen was found in 1798, scientists believed it was a fake animal because of its strange appearance. Not only does it lay eggs and have a bill like a bird and fur and mammary glands like a mammal, but its skeleton resembles that of a reptile. The males' venom is not deadly to humans but can cause great pain.

Other Information

Geographic:Australia
Tasmania
Date:1970-12 Subjects:Platypus
montreme
Ornithorhynchus
Ornithorhynchidae
Monotremes
Mammals
Vertebrates
Chordata