The platypus is a very unique Australian animal, appearing to be a combination of a many different animals, and yet not fitting into a particular group. It has the bill of a duck, a flat tail like a , it lays eggs like a reptile and yet it is a mammal.
Reprinted with permission from the Herald Sun
The platypus fits into a group of egg-laying mammals called monotremes. There are only three species of monotreme in the world, the platypus, the long-beaked echidna and the short-beaked echidna. The name “Monotreme” literally means “one hole”, referring to the fact that monotremes only have one opening for reproduction and excretion.
The platypus is a naturally shy animal, not often spotted during the day. If it is disturbed it will “splash dive,” scaring off predators. Because of this, and its nocturnal lifestyle, not much is known about the platypus. Research is currently being done by the Australian Platypus Conservancy and Melbourne Water