Ornithorhynchus anatinus


A platypus is 38 centimetres from its head to the end of its rump. Its tail adds an additional 13 cm to the animal's length. An individual weighs 1.4 kg.


Platypuses make their homes in the freshwater in the island of Tasmania and the eastern and southeastern coast of Australia. they will also waddle onto the riverbanks to dig burrows with their claws. These burrows are tunnels that have rooms or chambers. Platypuses also live under rock ledges, roots or debris.

They have been found in plateaus, lowlands, tropical rainforests, and the cold mountains of Tasmania and the Australian Alps. Their waterproof, thick fur keeps platypuses warm in chilly temperatures, and their big tails store extra fat for energy.

They are most active during nighttime and dusk, because they are nocturnal. This means they sleep during the day. When not hunting, they stay in their burrows.

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Platypuses are carnivores, which means they eat meat but not plants. They hunt for their food in the water where they live. As they swim, they try to detect food along the muddy bottom of the river, stream, pond or lake using their sensitive bills. When platypuses find something interesting, like shellfish, insects, larvae or worms, they scoop it up in their bills, store it in their cheek pouches and swim to the surface.


When swimming, the Platypus presents a low profile, with three small humps (the head, back and tail) visible above the water surface. The swimming action is smooth, and when the Platypus dives the back is arched as the animal plunges underwater, creating a spreading ring.


Platypuses lay eggs. They are a species of mammals called monotremes. When the female platypus is ready to have her young, she will burrow down inside the ground on the riverbank and seal herself into one of her tunnel rooms. Then, she will lay one or two eggs and place them between her rump and her tail to keep them warm. After about 10 days, the eggs hatch and the little, bean-sized babies will nurse for three to four months. Around the time of weaning, baby platypuses can swim on their own.