November 21, 2012

Wildlife Wednesday: The Duck Billed Platypus

It's got feet like a duck but it's furry!


Source: Australiananimallearningzoo.com

Source: Mudfooted.com

The platypus has a flat, streamlined body. They have a muzzle shaped like the bill of a duck, webbed feet, and a tail like that of a beaver. The bill is not hard like that of a bird. It is actually an elongated muzzle covered with a leathery skin. The bill and feet of a platypus are black while the fur is usually a dark brown color. The platypus also possesses a spur on it hind legs that can be used to inject venom into another creature. In man this usually causes agonizing pain but can be fatal to smaller creatures. The platypus forages for food by diving underwater for up to 1.5 minutes and searching for food. While underwater, it stores any food it finds in cheek pouches. On surfacing, it sorts out what it found and eats it. When searching for food, the platypus is relying solely on its electrically sensitive bill to find food. The bill of a platypus can detect small electrical currents put out by the creatures that it eats. The platypus is a strong swimmer though not very fast. It swims by alternating movements of its front feet only. When out of the water, the webbing folds between its toes. The fur of the platypus is some of the most waterproof in the animal kingdom and the tail is used to store fat.

source: Kongregate.com

source: Photobucket.com

The Platypus survives on insect larvae, freshwater shrimp, mollusks, frogs, and fish eggs.
The platypus is found in Eastern Australia living in streams and rivers.  The animals dig burrows to live in along the banks of the streams and rivers where they eat.
The Platypus needs to be careful when choosing its home because it is pray too many animals including Hawks, eagles, owls, water-rats, pythons, goannas, foxes, dogs, and cats. (What is a water-rat?  Sounds gross and creepy I may just need to do my next wildlife Wednesday on this little creatureJ)
Source: Ryanphotographic.com
The Platypus is nocturnal and antisocial.  They are shy and wary animals who only come together to mate.
The platypus lays eggs instead of giving birth to a live animal.  The hatchling lives off milk provided by the female platypus. The babies do not suck on the mothers nipples like normal milk producing animal, but rather laps it up off the ground after the mother secretes it from her glands.  The babies are weaned after a period of 5 months but will start to grow fur and leave the nest for short periods of time as early as 6 weeks.
Source: Australiananimallearningzoo.com

Source: Sodahead.com
The platypus has an electro-sensitive bill, meaning their bills are filled with electrical receptors and, in the murky waters; the platypus detects its prey due to the weak electrical fields generated by living organisms. Platypus also has excellent senses of sight and hearing.

Sources:
animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/platypus/
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus

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