By Zoe Salvador
The platypus is a creature unlike any other. They gained newfound recognition in the popular children’s TV show, Phineas and Ferb, where they had a secret agent platypus named Perry as their animal companion. In real life, platypus don’t actually spend their time fighting evil, but they do have lives far beyond normal.
Learn more about the platypus by reading through these interesting facts.
Platypus fun facts
1. They lay eggs
Platypus are one of a few known mammals who lay eggs (the only others being echidnas). They are special species of primitive mammals that lay eggs, also known as monotremes.
2. They are nocturnal.
Platypus are asleep in the day and active at night. They hunt during the night, spending up to 12 hours looking for food.
3. They glow in the dark.
Under a UV light, platypus fur glows a bright neon green or cyan! According to scientists, this is because they live in low-light conditions. This is one of the ways they can see each other in the darkness.
4. Their fur is waterproof.
These special mammals are also known as good swimmers. It comes as no surprise that they have waterproof fur to keep their eyes and skin protected while they are submerged.
They can stay underwater for about 30 to 140 seconds before coming back up for air. The waterproof fur also allows for insulation, keeping their body temperature just right.
5. They are actually venomous.
Despite their cute and cuddly exterior, platypus have venomous glands that can help protect them from predators as well as stun their prey. These glands can be found on their hind legs.
Though the pain caused by their venom is supposedly quite bad, it is not lethal to humans.
6. They look like a combo of three different animals.
The platypus has a very interesting physical appearance, and some of those parts look as though they were borrowed from other animals! They have a bill and webbed feet similar to those of a duck, a body similar to that of an otter, and a tail similar to that of a beaver.
As a bonus, they even have retractable claws similar to those of a cat! What a selection!
7. They don’t have teeth.
Platypus “chew” their food by scooping up gravel and grinding their food using their “mouth pads” made of keratin, creating some kind of blender situation. The platypus simply swallows the softer bits, and spits out the exoskeleton of their prey.
8. They use their bill to hunt.
Platypus actually keep their eyes closed when they hunt for food underwater, so they rely on electrolocation to find their food.
They have “nerves” or electro-receptors in their bill that send electric signals when they sense another animal in the vicinity.
All these facts may seem a bit bizarre, but they make the platypus so incredibly special. All animals have something unique about them, but the platypus just so happens to be extra unique. And that’s why we love them!
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s January-February 2021 issue.