Tuesday, April 1, 2008

platypus facts

Platypus is the name given to a semi-aquatic mamma, 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). Platypuses hunt as well as mate underwater, but live on land. In the following lines, we have provided some interesting facts and amazing information on platypus.
If I was an animal, I would want to be a Platypus.
Binomial Name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
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

How adorable!
~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.
~A platypus feeds on flies, small shrimps, worms, insect larvae and small aquatic creatures.
~Platypuses locate their prey with the help of electric signals from their bodies, with sensors on their bill.
~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.
~The 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.
So they are some hard core hunter-gatherers.
~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 deliver a poison, causing severe pain to humans, through a spur on its hind foot.
So those platypuses got game.
~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.

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