The platypus is one of the most extraordinary animals. Upon first examination, scientists initially believed that this creature was a fabrication, a peculiar amalgamation of a duck, beaver, and otter.
Observing this endearing animal, one can’t help but wonder if Mother Nature playfully combined a duck’s bill and webbed feet, a beaver’s tail, and the fur of an otter.
So, where to find platypus?
Interestingly, it can also be spotted around Founders Lake in Tasmanian Arboretum, where it is not uncommon to see a few during one watching.
We had many attempts in the past but we failed. For example, they are common in Carnarvon Gorge, but despite many attempts, we could not find them.
Platypus is a very shy creature and despite our efforts very often we weren’t able to see it. Finally, we went to Eungella National Park where one hungry platypus finally made a show for us.
It hunted underwater, and it was popping up at the surface from time to time. It swam gracefully by paddling with its front webbed feet and steering with its hind feet and beaver-like tail.
As we mentioned before at first glance, the platypus appears to be a curious blend of several animals. It possesses a duck-like bill and webbed feet, which enable it to glide through water with remarkable ease.
Its body, covered in dense, waterproof fur reminiscent of an otter, allows it to maintain warmth in cold water. The platypus also sports a flat, beaver-like tail, which serves as a storage for fat reserves and aids in swimming.
One interesting fact we found was about platypus spur. Only males have a spur that is connected to a venom gland. This platypus spur can kill small animals and really hurt humans.
Platypus is a carnivore and feeds on bugs, shellfish and other small insects.
Where spotted: Eungella National Park, QLD
Where to find platypus – more information
Some interesting facts about platypus
- The platypus has an extraordinary ability to detect electrical signals generated by the muscles and nerves of its prey. Its sensitive bill contains electroreceptors, which help it locate food in murky waters.
- The platypus is a monotreme, meaning it is one of the few mammals that lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. Females incubate their eggs by curling around them, and once hatched, the underdeveloped offspring rely on their mother’s milk, which is secreted through specialized mammary glands and absorbed through the skin.
- The platypus is an ancient species, with fossil records dating back to over 100 million years ago. This makes it one of the oldest surviving mammal lineages on Earth.
- Platypuses do not have a true stomach. Instead, they possess a simplified digestive system in which their esophagus connects directly to their intestine, allowing them to break down food more efficiently without the need for a gastric chamber.
- Platypuses are skilled excavators, creating intricate burrow systems along riverbanks or near bodies of water. These burrows serve as shelter and provide a safe space for nesting and rearing their young.
- When swimming, the platypus closes its eyes, ears, and nostrils to keep water out, relying entirely on its electroreceptors to navigate and locate prey. This adaptation allows them to thrive in murky or dark water conditions.
- A major component of the platypus diet consists of freshwater crustaceans, such as crayfish and shrimp. They also consume insect larvae, worms, and small fish, using their bill to sift through the sediment on riverbeds.
- Platypuses have no true teeth. Instead, they use hard, keratinous plates in their bill to crush and grind their food. These plates are especially useful for breaking the tough exoskeletons of their crustacean prey.
- The platypus belongs to a small and exclusive group of mammals known as monotremes, which also includes the echidna. Monotremes are unique among mammals due to their egg-laying reproductive method and a mix of reptilian and mammalian traits.
- The platypus is considered an emblem of Australia, representing the country’s unique and diverse wildlife. It has appeared on various Australian coins, stamps, and even as the mascot for national events.