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Frilled Necked Lizard
The Platypus swimming
What Kind of Animal is the Platypus?
Platypuses are mammals.
The platypus is a very special mammal becuse it lays eggs. Mammals that lay eggs are called monotremes.
Habitat and Distribution (where it is found)
Platypuses live beside freshwater rivers, creek and lakes in eastern and sout-eastern Australia, stretching from Queensland down to Victoria and Tasmania. They dig long burrows in the bank, with entrance to the burrow above the water level and well hidden.
Describe What Your Animal Looks Like (features, appearence)
Platypuses have webbed feet and a wide flat tail about 12 centimetres long that helps them swim. As they swim , platypuses close their ears and eyes.
A platypus' body can be up to 45 centimetres long. They can weigh up to 2.3 kilograms. Males are larger than females.
Male platypuses also have a sharp claw-like spur behind the ankles on its hind legs. The spus are connected to poison glands. Male platypuses may use them to protect themselves from predators and to fight other male platypus during mating time.
The platypus has webbed feet for swimming. On land, the webs turn back to uncover claws on the feet which it uses to dig a long burrow in the banks of rivers and creeks. Some burrows can be as long as 25 metres. Each platypus has its own burrow.
The platypus has a thick coat of slightly oily fur which keeps it warm if the water is really cold.
The platypus has strong webbed feet to pull it through the water when it is swimming. The platypus uses it's tail for steering.
The bill is soft and rubbery and has 2 holes near the end. They are nostrils.
They must come up to the surface to breathe. They drown if they get caught in underwater fishing nets or crayfish traps.
A Diagram of The Platypus
What Does The Platypus Eat?
The platypus is a carnivore (meat-eater) and uses its bill to strain its tiny prey, like crayfish, worms, insects, snails and shrimp from muddy water.
They feed on creatures that live in rivers, ceeks and lakes. They feel for food with their leathery bill, which has special nerves in it that senses the movement of prey.
The platypus scoops up worms, shrimp, small crayfish, insect larvae and other small water animals. The food is stored in cheek pouches until the platypus swims to the surface to eat it.
When they eat food, platypuses crush it with tough horny pads on their upper and lower jaws. They don't have teeth.
The Life Cycle
Females build a nest of damp grass and leaves in a chamber at the end of their long nesting burrows when it is time to lay eggs. The dampness helps keep the temperature of the chamber right for the eggs and the young. She carries plants from the water's edge with her tail curled around them. After mating with a male platypus, (between June and October) a female seals herself into the nesting chamber by blocking the entrance with soil and lays one or two eggs. She lies curled up with the eggs between her body and tail to protect them until they hatch. The eggs hatch in about ten days and the young stay with their mother for up to four months. They drink milk that oozes from their mother's body, sucking it from her fur.
Females lay up to 3 eggs. When they hatch, the babies lick milk from a patch on their mother's stomach.
Six months later they'll have learnt to look after themselves and they'll have to find their own quiet bit of riverbed.
Predators of the Platypus
Hawks, eagles, owls, crocodiles, water-rats, pythons, goannas, foxes, dogs, and cats are all predators of the platypus.
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