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13 Platypus Facts For Kids

navajocodetalkersadmin on December 9, 2014 - 12:00 pm in Fun Facts for Kids

The Platypus is an interesting looking animal that has a duck bill beak, a long otter like body, webbed giant feet like a duck and a flat paddle like tail like a beaver. They are very different looking animals that literally look like a last minute idea of spare parts that were thrown together.

1. They look funny but they are the only venomous mammals so they can be harmful. Male Platypus’s have small spurs on their back legs that are connected to glands that release venom. They secrete more venom during mating season than at any other time.

2. The venom is not fatal but it can cause severe swelling and a great deal of pain. These are quite interesting animals that are only found in a small section of Australia. They are very resilient creatures that can weather different climates rather easily.

3. The live in the fresh waters off the coast of Australia around the island of Tasmania. They are nocturnal animals which means they do mostly everything they do at night between dusk and dawn than sleep during the day.

Size and Weight

4. The Platypus’s thick waterproof coat makes them appear heavier than they average about 3 lbs. They range in length from 15-20 inches long with their tail making up about 5 inches. Their flat paddle like tail stores extra fat and is used much like a boats rudder when they are in the water.

5. They have large front feet that are webbed to make it easier for them to hunt and swim. They spend a great deal of time in the water hunting up to 12 hours each night so their webbed feet, paddle tail and thick waterproof coat all serve them well.

6. They are an ancient animal that has not evolved much over the centuries other than seemingly growing smaller. Their duck bills gives them the common name Duck Billed Platypus. The Platypus does not have teeth they have grinding plates instead which helps to grind their food into digestible particles.


7. The Platypus needs to eat about 30% of its body weight each day, so hunting is its main activity. They are carnivores and eat small marine animals and crustacean. They have pouches in their cheeks where they store the food and return to land to crush and ingest the food that they have stored. They use the grinding plates in their bills combined with a good amount of sand and gravel that has been scooped up to break apart the food.

8. Their diet is mainly made up of shrimp, insects, larvae and other small crustaceans. Sometimes they can be seen on the shore digging through the rocks looking for food. They are not true hibernators but some have been observed in a state of topor which is similar to hibernating during the colder months for about 6 days at a clip. No one has been able to figure out whey some Platypus will enter this state while others will not.


9. More mystery is added to this unusual creature when it comes to their offspring. They are mammals but they lay eggs! Only the Platypus and the Spiny Anteater are classified as mammals and lay eggs. The female will come to shore, create a burrow in the soft earth around the shore, burrow down into a chamber, deposit her eggs and she will sit on them to incubate them for about 10 days. Typically a female will lay one or two eggs. When the tiny babies hatch (they are about the size of a Lima bean) they will nurse for three to four months. Once they are done nursing they can swim and hunt on their own. The young grow rapidly and reach adult size by about 6 months.

Other Facts

10. While the Platypus depends heavily on its ability to swim to survive they can only stay under water from 30-120 seconds. They have to continuously come up for air. They are meant to be in the water because walking on land takes up 30% more energy than swimming does.

11. The skeleton of the Platypus is seemingly more reptilian than it is mammalian. Like reptiles they have splayed legs and pectoral girdles.

12. They are considered of “least concern” according to the World Wildlife Conservation that measures whether an animal is endangered or not however there are no solid numbers when it comes to the population.

13. They are prehistoric animals that have been living in the same region for millions of years according to fossil evidence that has been found in their habitat area. Platypuses are very interesting animals that have been a part of the planet for a very long time. Some scientist believe that they starting evolving than just suddenly stopped which is why they appear to be bit pieced together!

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