Duck bulled platypus is the only extant species of the genus Ornithorhynchus, inhabiting the freshwater streams, lagoons, and lakes of eastern Australia including Victoria, southeastern South Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland.
They can grow to a length of 300 to 450 mm not including tail that measures around 100 to 150 mm. You’ll enjoy all these and other duck billed platypus facts such as duck billed platypus diet and habitat.
The adult platypus weighs around 0.5 to 2.0 kg. The males have inwardly-directed hind limbs together with hollow spurs that are associated with venom glands. The home range of male platypus is about 2.9 to 7.0 km.
Humans had extensively hunted platypus in the 1950s primarily due to its fur trade. These factors pressed the numbers of these animals even though they are classified as ‘Least Concern’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Duck Billed Platypus Facts
- The head-and-body length of a male duck billed platypus measures around 50 cm (20 inches), while the female measures at 43 cm (17 inches) in length.
- They have a tail measuring at 100 to 150 mm in length.
- Males are larger than the females.
- The weight of the platypus ranges from 0.7 to 2.4 kg (1.5 to 5.3 lb).
- Platypus displays deep amber and blackish brown to the yellowish chestnut and the greyish white color from below.
- These animals have short and stout limbs while the feet are webbed like in penguins.
- The platypus’s tail seems like a beaver.
- The nostrils of platypus open through its snout on the upper half, and are closer together.
- The young platypuses have small calcified teeth that have stubby roots; whereas adults have no functional teeth but they do have horn-like plates along each jaw. The gland discharges venom which then goes to the spur and is finally injected to the prey animal. The venom is strong enough to kill a dog and can cause agonizing pain to humans.
- The voice of a platypus is not often heard; however, they do produce a growl-like sound. Platypus is known to have a keen eye-sight and hearing but when it is in water, the skin folds cover their eyes and ears.
- Platypus can remain under water for about 1 minute.
- They are usually seen in the early morn or in late evening hours.
- They will remain active all throughout the year and even in cold temperatures of winter.
- The average lifespan of platypus is 13 years in the wild; while in captivity, they can live up to 21 years.
Where Do Platypuses Live | Duck Billed Platypus Facts
Platypus generally builds two kinds of burrows in the banks of streams and ponds. One of these burrows is employed for shelter for both males and females in the breeding season. The other burrow, which is normally much deeper typically belongs to the young and is built by the female alone. The platypus tends to dive, dig and swim very well by using its forefeet rather than hind feet.
What Do Platypuses Eat | Duck Billed Platypus Facts
The platypus generally feeds on larvae of water insects, crayfish, shrimps, worms, tadpoles, small fish, and snails. When in captivity, platypus is known to take on food equivalent to the half of its own weight on daily basis. On an average they take 1.5 kg comprising 450 g of earthworms, 200 mealworms, 2 small frogs, 20 to 30 crayfish, and 2 coddled eggs in the captivity.
Reproduction | Duck Billed Platypus Facts
The platypus mates in the water from July to November. The female lays one to three (normally two) eggs about 27 days after mating.
The incubation period lasts for 10 days. The female alone incubates these and she will stay in her nest for quite a few days.
The length of the eggs measure around 16 to 18 mm, while the diameter measuring at 14 to 15 mm. The platypuses’ eggs are almost the same size of those of a house sparrow but are fairly spherical.
The young platypus measures at 25.4 mm after the eggs being hatched. They are born blind, deaf, and naked and the mother curls around them. These juveniles will become completely furred after a period of four months, with the length reaching at 335 mm and now they will leave the burrow.
The female starts breeding in the second or third year.