The power that created the poodle, the platypus and people has an integrated sense of both comedy and tragedy. - JamesThurberThe platypus is one of the weirder Australian animals, being neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring. It is a mammal ~ but doesn't bear live young. It lays eggs but has no nest & no pouch. It does, however, make a separate burrow for raising its young. Scientists label platypus as a monotreme. I just call it odd. Well, what would you call something that looks like this & waddles round the place with its eggs clinging to the fur of its belly & tucked neatly in place by a tail scoop?
Mammals suckle their young ~ unless they're a platypus, or perhaps an echidna. Oh, the female platypus produces milk. Milk oozes out of her glands & her babies lick it off her fur. Messy!
It is also one of the few venomous mammals in the world. True. The male platypus has venom in the spurs of his hind feet ~ lethal enough to kill a dog or make a human rather sick.
When scientists first discovered the platypus in Australia's creeks & rivers they promptly killed & skinned one [don't go there!] & packed it off to England for further scientific study. The English, naturally, thought the Aussies were having them on & this was one large practical joke.
A healthy platypus will have a nice plump tail. It's where excess fat is stored though the tail is also used as a rudder when swimming, to shift soil when burrowing & to curl round the live young once the eggs have hatched.
The bill is made of cartilage but not only can a platypus use it for breathing, it can detect electric impulses from other creature's muscles. The fur is denser than other animal furs. It has about 800 hairs per square millimeter ~ denser than the fur of an otter or polar bear! It has more hemoglobin in its red blood cells than any other mammal, which allows it to store large amounts of oxygen & its heart rate can vary from 140 - 230 beats per minute to almost zero.
A platypus is about the size of your average house cat & I was surprised to learn it does vocalise! Something like a puppy's growl I believe & they may make other sounds as well.
However if you want to see a live one you'll have to come to Oz. There isn't a single zoo outside Australia with a live platypus & they don't breed well in captivity. They managed it in 1943/4 but not again till 1998/9. Not a high success rate! They've been doing better recently. Taronga Park even managed twins.