Australian Fauna: The Platypus

Australia is home to the unique platypus. Today, this amazing mammal lives other place in the world. When first "discovered" by the British, the platypus, then called water-mole, was thought to be a hoax because surely it was put together from parts of other animals. That same sense of disbelief is still felt today. How can such a creature exist!

The platypus is a furry mammal with webbed feet and a "duck" bill which doesn't look exactly like a regular duck's bill because it's very flat and very large. People don't often catch sight of a platypus in the wild, though there are viewing spots in some of the parks and protected wildlife areas. These solitary animals live in burrows along river banks in Australia's tropical rainforest. They spend most of their time inside their burrows, preferring to come out mostly at night. They feed in the water on worms, shrimp and such. The platypus doesn't venture out onto land very often.

There is a lot to learn about this amazing animal that has become one of the symbols of Australia. The Internet gives students and teachers the chance to go on a virtual adventure into the home and the life of the platypus.

Learn more about the platypus:

  • A Very Special Australian: How did the platypus get its name? What does a platypus eat? Where does the platypus live? The Australian Platypus Conservancy has the answers.
  • Facts about the "Duckbill" Platypus: Interesting facts about the platypus--looks, size, habitat and feeding.
  • Platypus Status: Is the duck-billed platypus an endangered species?
  • National Park Platypus: About the platypus in Lamington National Park.
  • The Unusual Platypus: Extensive information about Australia's platypus, along with lots of photos. From the fossil record to platypus behavior, and everything in between, it's all here.
  • About the Platypus: Detailed information about the physical attributes of the duck-billed platypus, with pictures of a platypus egg, newborn babies and platypus youth.
  • Anderson's Creek Primary School: Platypus page in their Australian animals' collection.
  • The Iconic Mammal: From appearance and habitat to their venom glands and spurs, information about the platypus.
  • The Unique Platypus: All about the ornithorhynchus anatinus, otherwise known as the platypus.
  • Totally Cool Photos: See a platypus diving and leaving his burrow as wells as some close-ups of a back leg and front webbed foot.
  •  Platypus Paradoxes: Why the platypus doesn't fit like he should, why he's so different from his fellow animals.
  • Platypus at the Olympics: Syd the Platypus as one of the mascots for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
  • The Silver Platypus: Australia's own platypus on a silver coin in the 2010 Dreaming Series.
  • Platypus in Crisis: Lesson plan that asks students to do a presentation as if they were speaking to the Australian Parliament about the platypus.
  • Australian Animals: The platypus is included in this study of the animals of Australia.
  • Unique Australian Animals: A lesson featuring one of those unique animals, the platypus.
  • All About Platypuses: Where they live, what they eat and much more with pictures.
  • Forest Secret: The platypus has a page in this exhibit at the Museum Victoria.

  • From the Red List: Information about the threatened species status of Australia's platypus.
  • Scientific Controversy: Since the discovery of the platypus, this creature that doesn't neatly fit into a category in the animal world, has caused amazement.
  • Order Monotremata: All the details about why the platypus and echidna are called mammals and what makes them different from other mammals.
  • Platypus on the Diversity Web: Lifespan, communication, behavior, food habits and ecosystem roles of the platypus can be found here.
  • Duckbill Platypus: All the basic information about the duckbill platypus and his home in the Australian forests.
  • From The Penny Magazine: (PDF Document) Article published in the British magazine in 1835. The writer seems thoroughly fascinated by the water-mole or platypus.

 

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