Q:

What are some adaptations of the platypus?

A:

Quick Answer

The platypus's adaptations include webbed feet and a broad, flat tail that help it swim, thick fur to keep it warm and strong claws to help it dig and move around on land. The platypus also has special receptors in its bill to help it hunt in the dark.

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Full Answer

Platypuses eat aquatic invertebrates and usually forage at night, so they cannot rely on vision or smell. Instead, the receptors in their bills detect subtle pressure changes in the water as well as electrical impulses that their prey gives off. Platypuses have cheek pouches that allow them to store prey while foraging. They also store bits of gravel in these cheek pouches, which help them grind up their meals since they do not have teeth.

The platypus is well adapted for swimming. Their bodies are streamlined to help them move quickly and smoothly through water. In addition to their thick fur, they store body fat in their tail to help insulate them against cold water. They are able to close their ears and nostrils while diving.

Male platypuses have venomous spurs on their hind legs. The venom increases during breeding season, so it may be used in fights with other males. Platypuses reproduce by laying eggs, which the female incubates. After the eggs hatch, the mother nurses the helpless babies. This occurs in a secure burrow to help protect them from predators.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does a platypus eat?

    A:

    A platypus eats insects, shellfish, larvae and other small animals that it finds along the bottom of the streams and rivers near its home. It uses its bill and small rocks to scoop up these organisms.

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  • Q:

    How much does a platypus weigh?

    A:

    The duck-billed platypus weighs between 2 and 5 pounds, and males are generally larger than females. Platypuses lose fat seasonally after the winter, making them lighter in the spring than in the fall. The average weight for adult males and females, regardless of season, is 3.35 pounds.

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  • Q:

    What is a baby platypus called?

    A:

    There is no official or generally accepted term for a baby platypus. Some people refer to baby platypuses as puggles, but that is more of a nickname than a proper title. Another name commonly used is "platypup."

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  • Q:

    Who discovered the platypus?

    A:

    While Australian aborigines were aware of the platypus long before Europeans came to Australia, Captain John Hunter is usually given credit as the animal's discoverer. He sent a platypus pelt and a sketch of the animal to England in the late 1700s.

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