Platypus

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Platypus

The platypus or duck-billed platypus is an egg laying mammal of Eastern Australia. It has a duck-like bill, and wide, flat tail. It is about 61 cm. (24 in.) long and weighs about 1.8 kg. (4 lbs.). It has dark brown or yellow fur and its webbed feet and tail help it to swim. Males have poison spurs on their hind feet that kill small animals and wound larger ones. Using plates on its bill it crushes and eats worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and plants.

Mating takes place in early spring. The female digs a hole about 4.5-18 m (15-60 ft.) deep. There she builds a nest and usually lays two eggs. They hatch in about eight to ten days and nurse for about 5 months. The average life span is about 10 years. They usually live by a river bank. They are able to move around on land, but they have to walk on their knuckles because their webbing gets in the way.

   

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