A face like that of a duck. But a body that does not resemble a duck, webbed feet and a tail that looks like that of a beaver (big and fluffy). Does your little one too think that the platypus is a mixture of different animals?
To be honest, platypuses are one of the most unique creatures in the animal kingdom. Usually found in Australia, not a lot of people have seen them in flesh. However, people have always been fascinated by them irrespective of their ages.
Maybe a little of that curiosity of yours will be quenched today. So read on to know some fun duck-billed platypus facts for kids and surprise your little one even more.
11 Interesting & Fun Facts about Duck-Billed Platypus for Kids
The very existence of platypuses is an interesting facet of nature. It is an animal that resembles other animals in more than one way. However, it has certain characteristics which make it unique in its own right. So let’s take a look at some fun platypus facts.
1. People, for a long time, thought platypus is not a real animal
This is something I can believe because when you look at a platypus, it does look like a combination of different animals. As a result, for a really long time, people thought that they were not real and were made-up creatures. I cannot imagine their shocked faces when found out that platypuses really do exist.
2. They are mammals, who lays eggs
Yes. Platypuses are indeed mammals. However, unlike the rest of the mammals, they do not give birth to their young ones. Instead, they lay eggs like birds. Platypuses belong to a tiny group of mammals that lay eggs which makes them so unique.
3. Platypuses are venomous creatures
Now, this is an interesting and fun duck-billed platypus fact; the males are venomous. They have a spur (something resembling a big nail) on the inside of each ankle. The venom is strong enough to kill small animals and cause a lot of pain to humans. What is even more interesting is that scientists believe that this venom can one day help treat diabetes!
4. They do not have stomachs
Tell your little one that platypuses don’t have stomachs and watch the amazement and curiosity in the eyes increase! They have a gullet, which is a passage that takes the food from the mouth to the intestines. They do not need a stomach to digest the food. How cool is that!!
5. They also do not have any teeth
Speaking of things platypuses do not have, it is also interesting to note that they do not have any teeth. They go diving for food and scoop up gravel and grit together. Once they surface, they use this gravel collected to chew their prey and eat it. A pretty ingenious way to deal with no teeth!
6. While underwater, their bills help them move around
Platypuses have really sensitive bills. When they go underwater, they cannot use their eyes to see or move around. They cannot smell their way around either. They use the bills to detect movement. This is how they catch their prey, by detecting the slightest movements with the help of their bills.
7. The ancient platypuses used to be huge!
Many would be surprised to know that the ancient platypuses used to be massive in size! In fact, scientists believe that these fascinating creatures are the earliest known relatives of modern day mammals. They are believed to have been around way before the extinction of the dinosaurs.
8. Their webbed feet are retractable
Platypuses usually go underwater to catch prey. This means they need to have webbed feet so that they can navigate their way through the water. However, once they are on land, these webbed feet retract and exposes sharp claws! This makes it easier for them to walk around on the land.
9. Their tails store fat in case of food storage
Platypuses use their tails for all sorts of things. The tails store up a significant amount of body fat. This becomes a life-saver when there is a shortage of food. Additionally, the females also use the tails to hold eggs closer to their bodies to provide them with warmth.
10. Platypuses sweat milk
Like most mammals, platypuses too drink milk when they are younger. However, unlike most mammals, which have nipples that their babies use to drink milk, platypuses do not have nipples. Instead, they sweat milk. They have mammary glands on their abdomen which secretes milk and the babies drink it up right from the mother’s skin or fur!
11. They glow in ultraviolet lights
One of the most interesting facts about platypuses is that their fur glows! Scientists have found out that in normal light, the fur looks brown. However, when under ultraviolet light, their fur glows green and blue! This is a recent discovery and it will surely blow your little one’s mind.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What do platypuses eat?
Platypuses generally eat small water animals like insects, worms, larvae, small shrimps and crayfish.
Q. How do baby platypuses eat?
Baby platypuses directly suck the milk from the mother’s skin or fur from the abdomen area.
Q. How much do platypuses weigh?
A platypus, on average weighs around 3 pounds and can grow about 20 inches in length.
Q. How do platypuses eat without a stomach?
Platypuses do not have a stomach. Hence, the food travels down from their mouth, through a gullet that ends up in the intestines.
Q. Do platypuses produce milk?
Yes, female platypuses, like all mammals, produce milk that they secrete through their mammary glands located in their abdomens.
Q. What are baby platypuses called?
Baby platypuses are known as puggles.
Q. Do platypuses have teeth?
No, platypuses do not have teeth.
Q. Are platypuses intelligent?
Platypuses, by nature, are intelligent and inquisitive animals.
Q. Are platypuses friendly?
A platypus, being an inquisitive creature will let it touch you if it feels safe. However, they cannot be kept as pets.
And we have reached the end of the article, ’11 Amazing Platypus Facts for Kids’. Hope you had as much fun reading this article as I did while writing it. Platypuses are the strangest creatures and learning a bit about them, probably made your kid excited to see one.