The body is streamlined and compressed dorsoventrally. The
snout is a muzzle shape similar to the bill of a duck. Platypuses
have a tail shaped like that of a beaver, and webbed fore-
and hindfeet. Males are larger than females. Range in lengths
from 56 cm to 47.5 cm. Females have two sets of ventrally
located mammary glands, one on each side of the midline about
halfway down the body.
male Platypus has venomous ankle spurs, used in vicious territorial
battles and fights over mates. The Platypus is one of the
few mammals known to have a sense of electroception: it locates
its prey in part by detecting their body electricity. Its
electroception is the most sensitive of any mammal.
Platypus is a carnivore. It feeds on annelid worms and insect
larvae, freshwater shrimps, and yabbies (freshwater crayfish)
that it digs out of the riverbed with its snout or catches
while swimming. Its bill is very sensitive, allowing it to
hunt its food without using sight. The Platypus needs to eat
at least a quarter of its own weight every day. This requires
the Platypus to spend about 10 hours each day looking for
food. When not in the water, the platypus retires to a short,
straight burrow of oval cross-section, nearly always in the
riverbank not far above water level, and often hidden under
a protective tangle of roots.
female reproductive organs consist of paired ovaries enclosed
by paired thin infundibular funnels; paired oviducts; paired
uteri, each of which communicates separately with a long median
unpaired urogenital sinus. The elongated urogenital sinus
communicates with the cloaca; thus eggs, urine, and feces
pass out through the one cloacal sphincter (hence the name
Monotremata). Platypuses and echidnas differ from all other
mammals in that females lay eggs and do not give birth to
their young. Females lay between one to three eggs, which
are normally incubated for 6 to 10 days.
live mostly in streams, rivers and some lakes which have permanent
water and banks suitable for burrows. The Platypus is nocturnal
and semi-aquatic. They are found in water with temperatures
varying from 25 - 29.9 degrees Celsius. They are found in
Queensland, New South Wales, SE South Australia, Victoria,
and Tasmania (Australia).