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Platypuses

What does a platypus look like?

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05/02/2012

Platypuses are only small creatures. A male platypus is 50-60 cm in length, whilst the female is smaller, averaging 40-50 cm in length. They are very lightly built creatures, with females weighing as little as 900 grams, and males around 2kg.

Whilst some may say the platypus has a unique appearance similar to that of part beaver, part otter and part duck, it really does not look like that at all. It is covered in fur, and its head is flat and streamlined for swimming under the water's surface.

The colour of a platypus's fur is dark brown over most of its body, with a grey undercoat. Its belly is gold-coloured or silky grey.

Its bill is different in shape to that of a duck, so even the term "duck-billed platypus" is a misnomer. It has webbed feet, claws and a flat tail, and lives in burrows in riverbanks. Its feet are not permanently webbed, as the membrane that stretches to help it swim swiftly retracts for the purpose of digging.

The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying mammal with a bill baffled naturalists when it was first discovered, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot which delivers a poison capable of killing a small dog or causing severe pain to humans.

See the related link for pictures of the platypus.