Biology

Platypus: a very nice animal

The platypus is a most unique animal , a mammal with a duck’s bill, otter legs that lays eggs, has hair, its young suck and is poisonous. A very strange mammal that is the example of mammals that do not comply with the traditional: they suckle, have hair and are viviparous.

For those of us Australia catches us somewhat far away, we do not know that it is a protected species with a unique behavior. Platypus are semi-aquatic and excellent swimmers that can be hunted by raptors, water rats, and snakes. They feed on fish and crustaceans from the bottom of streams and lakes that it searches for almost 12 hours a day, in dives of about 30 seconds. When the platypus does not hunt, it rests in its burrow but requires a lot of food to maintain its intense activity. The platypus is a kind of nocturnal habit although it sometimes comes out on cloudy days.

Platypus
Platypus

The biology of the platypus is very particular: its characteristics place it evolutionarily very close to the first mammals. The species has only one mating period; after a complicated courtship that ends with the pair swimming together in slow circles, while the male holds the female’s tail with his beak.

After copulation, the female lays the eggs after 28 days inside. After 10 days of external incubation, the young emerge and the male platypus does not participate in the rearing of the young that are left in the charge of the mother, since the male can have several pairs.

Newborns are very vulnerable as they are born blind and hairless. Platypus feed on the milk of the mother who does not have nipples. The baby platypus lick the milk left in the grooves that the female has in the skin. This period lasts about 3 or 4 months. When the female goes out to feed (since the male does not collaborate in the breeding) she covers the entrance with soft soil to protect the young.

As a curiosity, platypus are born with teeth but lose them and maintain a leathery structure to grind food.

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