The Duckbilled Platypus
The Duckbilled Platypus, an animal that many consider a very primitive form of mammal, is now the last remaining kind of its species.
The duck billed platypus is an animal that has often been described as a cross between a mammal and a reptile. When the first Europeans settled in Australia one was caught but since it appeared so distinctly different than any other animal for years people were convinced that the carcass was a hoax. It wasn't until many years later that one was spotted and studied in the wild. As far as known science can say, the platypus is the only creature of its kind. It shares its family with only one other member, the Echidna.
The platypus is found only in Eastern Australia. It is nocturnal; it lives mainly on streams and on the sides of lakes. It has three layers of fur. The first, close to the body, traps a thin layer of air and helps keep it warm. The second layer of fur acts like a windbreaker and the third layer helps protect it from bumps and cuts and acts like an extra layer of insulation.
The Platypus feeds mainly on small aquatic animals and in one night can eat its own body weight in food. They are the size of a pet cat and can grow up to 15-25 inches long including the tail and a maximum weight of around five pounds.
Although their beak looks much like a ducks it is really only an extension of a snout. The snout is sensitive to electromagnetic fields which helps them locate them prey on the stream or lake floor.
Although considered a primitive mammal they still have quite a few reptile like features. When in heat males develop poisonous spurs in their rear legs which are powerful enough to kill a dog. When nursing young the females do give milk but not through nipples instead they secrete milk through glands in their skin.
Their front and back feet are completely webbed but only the front feet are used to dive. Under normal circumstances they float so to keep themselves under water they have no choice but to keep paddling. The large rear feet are used to steer and brake while under water. The Platypus spends as much as twelve hours a day submerged under water that's close to zero. The average life span is anywhere from three to te