Platypus | Facts & Information

# Platypus | Facts & Information

Platypus | Discover Fascinating Facts and Information About Platypus

The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a mammal, representative of the Ornithorhynchidae family of the order Monotremata, in whose anatomical composition we find an unusual combination of characters, inherited from reptilian ancestors, others reminiscent of birds.

Area: Australia

Habitat: deep water areas

Food: Omnivorous

Size: 40-60cm

Weight: 0.7-2.4 kg

Speed: 35km / h (22mph)

Colors: brown, gray, black

Breeding: 2 chicks

Predators: fox, snake, crocodile

Live: solitary

Average age: 15 years

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The platypus is a fascinating and unique animal, but little known. It is an aquatic mammal that lives in Australia and stands out for its atypical characteristics that make it seem like a combination of various animal species. Scientifically known as Ornithorhynchus anatinus, the platypus is considered a true "freak of nature".

This extraordinary creature was first discovered in the 18th century and has since sparked much controversy among researchers and naturalists because it does not fit into a clear category. The platypus presents characteristics of birds, mammals, and reptiles, making it an extremely interesting species to study.

One remarkable aspect of the platypus is its unique physical appearance. This animal has a body covered in a fine and soft fur, similar to that of water rats, which protects it against the cold temperatures of the water. Additionally, the fur is waterproof and prevents water from penetrating the animal's skin. The platypus also has a thick and strong tail, used for swimming.

Another characteristic element of the platypus is its limbs. They are short and have webbed fingers, ideally adapted for surface swimming. However, in addition to these adaptations for aquatic life, the platypus has a unique characteristic among mammals – fingers equipped with strong claws, allowing it to be a good digger.

Another fascinating aspect of the platypus is represented by its bill. It resembles that of ducks, but is much flatter and broader. The exterior of the bill is covered with highly sensitive sensory cells that help it locate prey under the water. The platypus's bill is like a key tool in the search for food.

The platypus also has a unique feature in the animal world – it is one of the few mammal species that lays eggs. Female platypuses lay eggs in an underground nest they carefully construct and insulate with their fur. The eggs develop for about 10 days, and the offspring are born in an underdeveloped state. They are nourished with maternal milk, which is secreted through specific pores in the skin characteristic of the platypus.

The main food source for the platypus consists of aquatic insects, snails, and crustaceans. To find and hunt prey, the platypus utilizes its amazing ability to detect electromagnetic waves produced by living organisms. It can locate and "see" prey under water even without actually seeing it, using electroreception.

Another peculiarity of the platypus is that it is a solitary animal. Being elusive and avoiding contact with other individuals, it guards its territory and ensures it remains a dominant species in the ecosystem it inhabits.

Despite the increased interest it has generated over time, the platypus is still insufficiently studied. Many people consider this creature a true miracle of nature and a perfect example of the diversity and complexity of life on Earth. Studying the platypus and gaining a deeper understanding of its characteristics could bring many answers to questions related to evolution and species adaptation to the scientific and research world.

Therefore, the platypus remains a unique and intriguing animal about which much is yet to be discovered. A fusion of traits that give it uniqueness and make it a fascinating subject for both scientists and nature enthusiasts alike.









Features: duck beak, venomous Spade in males

The Class of mammals, known as the group whose representatives are the most evolved, has two essential characters: the presence of mammary glands (which secrete milk) and the covering of the body with hair.

Their origin is still obscure, with significant fossils missing or very rare. What is known for certain is their evolution from a group of reptiles. 200 million years ago, during the Triassic period of the Mesozoic, these evolved beings appeared.

Their size was small (some a few cm), herbivorous or frugivorous, a fact revealed from the study of fossil molars provided with tubercles. Thus, the group gets the name Multituberculata. These first mammals retained numerous reptilian characters, which gradually disappeared. Multituberculates resemble monotremes. Monotremes are the oldest and most primitive mammals today.

At the beginning of the XIX century European colonists called specimens brought from Australia "mole-duck", "duck beak". Their dissection surprised scientists; the Englishman Everard Home discovered that the reproductive organs of females differed from those of mammals, which is why he created a special class that was intermediate between mammals, birds and amphibians.

Also after a dissection, the Frenchman Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire discovers that the animal lays eggs.

Platypus Food

Its mode of nutrition is omnivorous, scouring the shore or sand from the bottom of the water with its "beak" in search of crustaceans, worms, insects and aquatic plants.

It moves easily in the water, using its forelimbs for forward, its hind limbs for balancing, and its tail as a rudder.

It swims to the surface, standing half-submerged or plunging to the bottom in search of food, in the latter case the eyes and ears close, using for orientation only the "beak".

Platypus Appearance

Platypus has a length of 65 cm and a mass of about 2-3 kg, depending on sex. It has a brown coat (dense and soft, but the bristles are woolier on the abdomen and harder on the back), consisting of two layers, which help it maintain a constant body temperature.

The tail is Dorso-ventrally flattened, and the head shows the lengthening known as the "duck beak". The beak of the platypus is flexible, about 10-15 cm wide. It has more than 700,000 tactile and electrical receptors that help it navigate the water while diving.

The platypus has no external ear, but has very fine hearing. It has some skin folds that protect its eyes and ears in the water. It detects prey with its sensitive snout. He also has a very high visual acuity. Males defend themselves with poisonous spines on their hind legs.

Platypus Behavior

It is not found throughout Australia, but only in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and some parts of the south of the continent. It is also present in Tasmania in large numbers. Today only one species of platypus is known, the one described by the English zoologists Shaw and Nodder, Ornithorhynchus anatinus.

It was found, in time, the existence of four subspecies that differed from the type species (Ornithorhynchus anatinus anatinus) from New South Gaul and Victoria by size and place where they live, of which:

Ornithorhynchus anatinus Newt in the darling and Murray River basins;

Ornithorynchus anatinus phoxinus at higher elevations.

Before the arrival of European settlers, it had few natural enemies, and its survival was not in danger. But this changed after 1788 and 1851, when the discovery of gold greatly increased immigration.

Heavily hunted for its fur, the platypus also suffered from uncontrolled breeding of rabbits, which destroyed their nests by digging their own galleries. It was only after the Second World War that Australian zoologists noticed the huge interest in their fauna. Today, catching and exporting a platypus is prohibited.

In Romania, at the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History in Bucharest, the second room of mammals, on the ground floor, can be admired a platypus specimen, obtained many years ago by the eponymous director of the institution.

The platypus makes sounds that allow it to transmit messages to its fellow humans. He does not possess vocal chords. These sounds are produced by puppies when they call their playmates, or by adults when they are in distress or when they want to communicate with other platypuses.

When underwater and lacking oxygen, he can reduce his heart rate from 200 per minute to less than 10.

Platypus Reproduction

Reproduction takes place after a short period of hibernation, in September-November. After mating, the partners play together for a while, then separate, the male returning to solitary life in the burrow. When the eggs need to be laid, the female digs a pit 60-90 cm deep.

It starts with a gallery in the slope, with a length between 6 and 12 m. the materials necessary for the construction of the nest are carried by the female on the belly with the help of the tail. She blocks the access path with one or more" plugs " of Earth, 15-20 cm thick, which she beats with her tail.

In this isolation occurs the laying of 2-3 eggs, with a diameter of 1.5 cm. Incubation lasts 7-10 days, with the female keeping the eggs near her abdomen. The exit of the chicks from the eggs is provided by a "tooth" located at the tip of the snout, which then disappears. The presence of this" tooth " is also an archaic character, not present in any other mammal.

At birth the Cubs measure no more than 13 mm long, are blind for 11 weeks and feed by licking milk from the mother's abdomen.

All specimens are born with Spurs on their hind legs, but they fall off the legs of females at about one year of age, while the Spurs of males become venomous during the mating season. He weighs a few pounds and lives about 12 years.

A record age of 17 years was reached in captivity.

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