The platypus is considered to be one of the world's
most unusual animals. It is often described as a living fossil - a furry,
warm-blooded, egg-laying mammal which retains some features of reptiles. (Australian
These are an egg laying mammal (monotreme) which are unmistakable out of
When swimming they are distinguished from other Australian mammals by the absence
of visible ears.
Most frequently seen at mid-distance in poor light. Dawn or Dusk.
Have webbed forefeet which aid in swimming and although the hind feet are also
webbed, these are folded back against the tail, except when used for steering and as
The platypus is quite motile on land, but due to the webbing of the forefoot
which extends beyond the toes, it carries itself on its knuckles
The fur is fine and dense with about eight hundred hairs per square millimetre.
There are two layers, a woolly undercoat and a long guard fur on top of that. Together,
these two layers trap air, therefore keeping the monotreme dry even after long periods of
being under water.
The fur on the tail is coarser, bristly, and often a darker brown than the body
fur. The burrowing action makes the tail fur more ragged and worn.
The flat tail is used as a stabiliser during swimming as well as enabling quick
diving. many platypus have a fine layer of hair under the tail. This can be quite thick in the
case of juveniles or in the period after adults have completed their moult.
The size of the platypus varies with location.