Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's Platypus Time!

While checking my Blogger stats recently, I noticed that a lot of people who stumble upon my blog come here looking for information about the lovely platypus. Well that and Disney porn. What the heck is up with that, fellow readers? There is no Disney porn here, so stop typing that into your search engine! :-P At the same time, I realized that my readers who come here expecting to find platypus information also surf away empty handed. Well, not anymore! This post is dedicated to everything you should, and need, to know about my favourite animal, the platypus.

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

The shy platypus is found in eastern Australia and Tasmania. They live beside freshwater rivers or lakes, and create burrows for shelter and protection. They are active mainly at nighttime hours, and use their webbed feet for swimming. While swimming, the platypus keeps its eyes shut. They swim underwater for two minutes, before returning to the surface for oxygen. However, they can stay underwater for up to ten minutes (but due to their natural buoyancy, they need to be underneath another object to do so.)

The platypus has a wooly furred coat and range from 30cm to 45cms in length (the tail being approximately 10 to 15 cms.) The wooly furred coat has three different layers. The first layer keeps the animal warm, by trapping air. The second layer provides an insulating coat for Mr. or Mrs. Platypus. Lastly, the third layer of long flat hairs detects objects close by. These goofy looking creatures weigh on average between 1 to 2.4 kilograms and have an average life-span of 12 years. However, this lifespan may be shortly diminished, as the platypuses biggest threats include: snakes, goannas, rats and foxes. Another big threat to the platypus is man, via waterway pollution or land clearing.

They are smaller than you think!

Platypuses feed on insect larvae, worms or other freshwater insects. They do so mainly at night, by the use of their bill. They turn up mud on the bottom of the lake or river, and with the help of their electroreceptors located on the bill, find many freshwater insects. They store their findings in special pouches behind their bill, and are consumed upon returning to the surface.

Amazing Fact: Platypuses can consume their own body weight in food in a 24 hour period! Om om nom indeed!

Male platypus are larger than their female counterparts. They reproduce by mating (which occurs once a year, between June - October.) The female lays between two - four eggs and incubates these for a two week period. When a young platypus is born, they feed from milk from the mother. The mother secretes this milk from large glands under the skin. 

A baby platypus is not called a puggle, which seems to be a common misconception. There is no official name for a baby platypus, but a common suggested name is "platypup." Aww. :)

Two baby platypuses. Did I just hear a collective, "aww" ? :)

If you thought this was a cute and cuddly Australian animal, well, you're only half correct. The male platypi have a hollow spur about 15 milimetres in length on the inside of both hind legs. This in turn is connected to a venom gland that the platypus uses to defend itself against predators. Yowch! These animals would definitely not make good pets and should always be handled with great care. 

Since only the male platypus has this venomous spur, and the gland peaks during mating season, many suggest it is normally used in aggressive encounters between other male platypus.

Amazing Fact: The male platypus has venom strong enough to can kill a small dog, or cause excruciating pain among humans.

For a visual of this cute, yet deadly, creature, view the following National Geographic video below: 

Also, for a look at the evolution of the platypus, check out this video here: 

I hope you guys and gals have learned a bit more about what I believe is the coolest animal in existence! For more info, click here! 

- Jennie


  1. I definitely awwwwwed at that picture! :)

    I don't even want to know how your blog would come up in a Disney porn search!? 0_o

  2. I have NO idea. People type the weirdest thing and somehow find my blog. It's funny, but also a little creepy sometimes. lol

  3. Thank you for this info! It's really a awesome creature.I didn't know that it wasn't called a puggle.How did you find that out?I can't wait to tell my friend.She made a AWANA group named the Puggles for 2-3 year olds.