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Platypus Day

Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years of work within zoos.

 Image: Platypus Conservation Initiative

Image: Platypus Conservation Initiative

The first Saturday in March is Platypus Day. A day to celebrate what is probably the strangest mammal on earth. The day was first proposed in 2012 by Disney with reference to one of their cartoon characters but interest waned.

The Platypus is under threat. It has already disappeared or is in much lower numbers over its former range and is at risk of extinction. Pollution and changes in agriculture are the main issues. As of 2020 the IUCN has classed it as Near Threatened.

Hand Feeding & Playing With A Friendly Platypus

Interesting Platypus Facts

1/ Though the platypus is a mammal...it lays eggs!

2/ Platypuses have waterproof fur.

3/ Platypuses detect their prey using electronic impulses (electroreception).

4/ Platypus stores its captured food in cheek pouches.

5/ Platypuses feed on worms, insect larvae, shrimps and yabbies.

6/ Platypuses have no stomach.

7/ The Platypus normal temperature is 32C whilst most mammals it is around 37C.

8/ Platypuses are venomous. Males have spur on their hind legs. Although dogs have been known to die there are no records of human deaths.

9/ The pain from a Platypus sting is said to be so bad that morphine will not give relief.

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10/ Platypuses glow under UV lights...and no-one knows why.

11/ The Platypus lays its eggs in a burrow close to the water.

12/ Platypus will usually lay two eggs which take about ten days to hatch.

13/ The eggs are incubated by the female holding them on her chest.

14/ Platypus will nurse their young for three months.

15/ Male Platypus play no part in rearing the young.

16/ The Platypus has no nipples. The young feed on milk secreted from mammary glans on the chest.

17/ Platypuses have ten pairs of sex chromosones whilst most mammals have only two.

18/ The unofficial name for a baby Platypus is a 'Platypup'.


Act Wild for Platypus

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PETER DICKINSON

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