Posted in Wildlife

Animal of the Week: The Platypus

Photo: View of a platypus from above
One of nature’s most unlikely animals: the platypus. Photo by Nicole Duplaix via National Geographic.

Ordinary Phenomena returns this week from its (longer than planned) holiday hiatus. We’re back in 2015 with more from the world of science, technology, art, history, wildlife, geography, culture and more. New posts coming your way, so stay tuned!

For 2015’s first “Animal of the Week” post, we begin this year with one of nature’s most unlikely animals: the platypus. In many ways, this animal is a contradiction of sorts. It is the only venomous mammal on Earth, has a duck’s bill, a beaver’s tail and an otter’s body and fur. Lest anyone mistake them for ordinary, male platypuses have venom in their back feet.

Wild Platypus in Tasmania. Photo by Klaus via Wikimedia Commons.

Native to Australia and Tasmania in particular, platypuses are excellent swimmers. Since they don’t have teeth however, they scoop food along with gravel in their bills, which aids in chewing insects, larvae, shellfish and worms. Sounds yummy.

They are one of only two mammals in the world which lay eggs (the other being the echidna). And infants are about the size of lima beans. On land, platypuses can retract their webbed feet in favor of nails which help them run. Watch them scurry around here. Cool stuff.

Platypuses prove that many times there is more than meets the eye. Only the apparent isn’t enough to properly gauge something (or someone). And how often we fall for just that! Look deeper, and you might just find much, much more.

So much to learn, from a seemingly-simple platypus of Australia.

Stay inspired,

C x N

Sources: National Geographic, San Diego Zoo

5 thoughts on “Animal of the Week: The Platypus

  1. I never thought the Platypus had venom. They look so innocent! Very interesting! Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed the video too. They are great swimmers!

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