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Australian Platypus

Closer than you think, very near the Whitsundays is Eungella National Park. A natural home for the Australian Playtpus. A duck-like bill and shy nature has made the platypus one of Australia’s most intriguing animals.
Found only in freshwater waterways in east and south-east Australia, the platypus is a semi-aquatic animal and searches under water looking for food.
The platypus is one of only three monotremes. The other two species are Australia’s short-beaked echidna and Papua New Guinea’s long-beaked echidna.
Monotremes are different from other mammals because they have no teats and lay eggs like birds even though they raise their young like mammals.

What does it look like?
Smaller than most people think, males are usually about 50cm long and weigh about 1.5kg. Females are smaller, usually about 40cm long and weighing 1kg.
The first thing most people notice about the platypus is its bill. Very sensitive, the bill is like soft, wet rubber and is used to find food.
The platypus’s body is covered in thick, dark brown fur and is flat and streamlined. It has a broad, flat tail with short, stout legs and webbed front feet well suited to its life in the water.
The tail acts as a stabiliser when the platypus swims, and is also used for burrowing. Fat is stored in the tail for when food is scarce or when the female returns to her burrow to breed. If the water is cold, platypus can increase their body’s heat-production to keep their temperature at around 32deg.

Half of the platypus’s day is spent in the water looking for food. The rest of its time is spent in its burrow, moving across land or even basking in the sun!
They build a simple burrow in a river bank, just above water level and often among a tangle of tree roots. They live mostly alone, but can share a water body with several other platypus.


 
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