In detail

The Platypus - Wanted poster


Characteristics

Surname: Platypus
Latin name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
class: Mammal
size: 30 - 50cm
mass: 1 - 2kg
Older: 5 - 10 years
Appearance: brown-black coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: Insects
distribution: Australia, Tasmania
original origin: Australia
Sleep-wake rhythm: nocturnal
habitat: Shore regions
natural enemies: Birds of prey, snakes, monitor lizards
sexual maturity: about the second year of life
mating season: August - October
breeding season: 10 - 12 days
clutch size: 2 - 3 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the platypus

  • The platypus describes a genus within the mammals and forms a separate group with the beaks, namely the Kloakentiere.
  • As a cloak animal, the female duckbill does not give birth to any live cubs, but lays eggs in a construction several meters long dug into the ground. The eggs hatch from the eggs after about ten days of incubation and are then fed with breast milk, which is formed in glands and licked by them.
  • Platypuses have a beak that is pliable and has a smooth skin surface, and a pine with horny plates to chop up their food.
  • Platypuses are only native to Australia and Tasmania, where as excellent swimmers they spend most of their aquatic life.
  • They are perfectly adapted to their preferred habitat, as platypus have webbed feet and a highly water repellent coat. They can unfold the webs to build their burrows in the earth with their powerful paws.
  • When they are out of the water, they retreat to one of their many waterfront buildings, the entrances of which are well hidden beneath plant material.
  • As nocturnal carnivores and loners they hunt underwater worms, crabs and insect larvae, which they track down under stones and in the mud with their beaks. The highly sensitive beak is occupied by receptors, with which the animals, which keep their ears and eyes always closed under water, perceive the movements of their prey animals as electric impulses.
  • They collect their prey in back pockets and transport them to the surface before they consume them.
  • The male platypus has as one of the few poisonous mammals a sting at the rump, which opens directly into a poison-producing gland. Attacks on humans are extremely rare and only happen when a platypus is inadvertently captured by fishermen and defended. The sting is not fatal to humans, but can lead to swelling of the whole body and severe pain that sometimes lasting months and can be successfully treated with neither painkillers nor with suitable antivenoms.
  • The function of this spinous process has not been researched to this day. Scientists believe, however, that during the mating season, the sting serves to defend the area against competitors, as the concentration of the poison is particularly high at this stage.
  • Among the predators of the platypus include monitor lizards, pythons, foxes, a large species of cod and birds of prey. Swimming rats occasionally invade the earth structures of the platypus and capture their young.