Bushland Cottages and Lodge - Yungaburra - Atherton Tablelands

The Platypus

Platypuses can be seen in Peterson Creek at the bottom of the garden - Bushland Cottages and Lodge

Platypus records from the wet tropics area are almost invariably from stretches of waterway where there aren't crocodiles;
the footslopes and higher area of the coastal ranges and tablelands.

Platypus is the name given to a semi-aquatic mammal, found only in Eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It belongs to the monotremata order of the mammalian family.
In other words, a platypus is amongst the five extant species of monotremes i.e. mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to young ones.
It has very unique and unusual features. In fact, a platypus is considered to be an assortment of a number of species,
namely the duck (bill and webbed feet), beaver (tail) and otter (body and fur).

  • A platypus swims with its eyes, ears and nostrils shut. It propels forward with the help of its forefeet. The hind feet are used for the purpose of brakes and steering.
    When a platypus is on land, it turns back the webs on its front feet, in order to reveal broad nails that help it in walking.
    Platypuses locate their prey with the help of electric signals from their bodies, with sensors on their bill.
    A platypus feeds on flies, small shrimps, worms, insect larvae and small aquatic creatures.They also may eat frogs and fish eggs.
  • The platypus mainly hunts at night.
  • Platypuses mate in the water. However, the female lays the eggs on land, in a breeding burrow up to 20m long.
  • The female platypus lays 1 to 3 eggs, which she incubates between her abdomen and tail.
  • Since the female platypus does not have nipples, its young ones suck milk from patches on the abdomen.
  • A platypus must consume at least one quarter of its body weight each day. This is why; it spends around 12 hrs every day looking for food.
  • Platypuses have been classified as 'near threatened' by IUCN and are named on its Red List. The main reason for this is their susceptibility
    to water pollution.
  • Platypus is one of the few venomous mammals. The male platypus can delivers a poison, causing severe pain to humans, through a spur
    on its hind foot.
  • Platypuses live near freshwater rivers or lakes and create burrows for shelter and protection.
  • A platypus has a flat furry tail that stores fats for the winter season. The tail is also used as a rudder for steering.
  • Platypus burrows can be up to 100 feet in length and often have two entrances/exits. Their burrows are above water level with entrances
    in river or lake banks or under tree roots. There are two types of burrows: nesting and campingļæ½the latter having shorter tunnels
    of 3 to 13 feet. Platypuses spend about 17 hours a day resting inside their burrows.
  • Platypus predators include: large cod, hawks, eagles, owls, and foxes. Carpet pythons, goannas and Australian water-rats
    attack young platypus in the burrow. Platypus prefer their burrows to be overhung by vegetation which helps hide it from predators.
    Adults usually have a number of burrows.
Platypus chart

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Monotremata
Family: Ornithorhynchidae
Genus: Ornithorhynchus
Species: O. anatinus
Length (males): 50 cm (20 in)
Length (females): 43 cm (17 in )
Weight: 700 g to 2.4 kg (1.54 to 5.3 lb)
Tail: 13 cm (5 in)
Age: Around 12 years
Natural Habitat: Eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
Diet: Carnivorous
Gestation Period: Around 28 days
Number of Eggs: 1-3

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