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Description of Platypus

´╗┐When the first platypus pelt arrived at London's Natural History Museum in the late 1790's, it was thought to be a fake made from bits of animals sewn together. This unusual mammal has a leathery bill, webbed feet, and fur, and it is one of only three mammals that lay eggs. Its body length is about eighteen inches, and its broad, flat tail is about seven inches long. The reclusive platypus spends most of its time in streams, rivers, and some lakes, foraging for food in the evening and sleeping during the day in burrows dug into the river banks.

Platypus Life

The unusual anatomical features of the platypus provide perfect adaptations for its life in water. The webbed feet are efficient paddles for swimming through the water. Claws on the feet help the platypus to dig burrows. Dense, waterproof fur covers the entire body except the feet and bill. The eyes and ear holes of the animal lie in folds that close when the animal is submerged, and the nostrils are located toward the end of the beak and also close under water. The bill is highly sensitive to touch, and is equipped with electrosensors that detect weak electrical fields produced by prey. Thus, the platypus can locate and capture prey in murky river bottoms without relying on vision, hearing, or smell. Bottom-dwelling invertebrates, especially crustaceans, aquatic insects, and insect larvae, compose the majority of the platypus diet. Behind the bill are located two internal cheek pouches containing horny ridges that substitute for teeth, which are lost early in the life of the platypus. The pouches are used to store food while it is being chewed and sorted by the animal. Amale platypus has a spur on each rear ankle that is connected to a venom gland in the thigh. The spur is used against attackers, but also against competing males during the mating season. The venom is not fatal to humans, but can cause a great deal of pain. This feature makes the platypus one of very few mammals that are venomous.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

Photo Gallery of Platypus