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Platypus Case

Essay by   •  March 8, 2012  •  Essay  •  539 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,380 Views

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Platypus is only found in eastern Australia and Tasmania, where they live on the edges of rivers and freshwater lakes where burrows can be dug. It is the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

The body and the broad, flat tail of platypus are covered with dense, brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep them warm and the fur is waterproof too. The platypus uses its tail for storage of fat. It has webbed feet and a large, rubbery snout; these are features that appear closer to those of a duck than to those of any known mammal. Besides, it is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom which capable of causing severe pain to humans. So, whenever the researcher is trying to collect DNA from platypus, they will hold its tail like this but not directly hold its body.

Secondly, I'll talk about the behavior of Platypus. The platypus is semi-aquatic. It is an excellent swimmer and spends much of its time in the water foraging for food. The platypus is a carnivore: it feeds on annelid worms, insect larvae, freshwater shrimps and yabbies that it digs out of the riverbed with its snout while swimming. The platypus needs to eat about 20% of its own weight each day, which requires it to spend an average of 12 hours each day looking for food. The average sleep time of a platypus is said to be as long as 14 hours per day, possibly because they eat crustaceans which provide a high level of calories. Usually, platypus can survive to 17 years of age.

Lastly, I would like to share with you about the reproduction part of platypus. Platypus's breeding season occurs between June and October. After mating, the female constructs a deeper, more elaborate burrow up to 20 m long and blocked at intervals with plugs, which may act as a safeguard against rising waters or predators. The male takes no part in caring for its young, and retreats to its year-long burrow. Female lays one to three small, leathery eggs, about 11 mm in diameter and slightly rounder than bird eggs. After laying her eggs, the female curls around them. During incubation, the mother initially leaves the burrow only for short periods, to forage. The newly hatched young are vulnerable, blind, and hairless, and are fed by the mother's milk. A platypus is born with teeth, but these drop out at a very early age. Adult platypus does not have teeth. Teeth are not necessary for platypus, as it "chew" its food by grinding the food between horny plates on its upper and lower jaws.

Platypus is one of the most unique creatures on the earth. Whenever you have chance to travel to Australia, don't forget to visit the platypus.

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