Bushland Cottages and Lodge - Yungaburra - Atherton Tablelands

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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 camping—the 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