This tender and amusing animal that is sometimes confused with a duck but has the body of a sea lion is perhaps one of the most enigmatic animals as it is a semi-aquatic mammal that after being discovered in 1799 by a team of scientists occupies an important place in the history of universal fauna.
The scientific name of the Platypus is ‘Ornithorhynchus anatinus’ and literally means “animal with the snout of a bird and the appearance of a duck”.
The platypus lays eggs despite being a mammal and has, like other mammals, mammal glands, making it a very special specimen. Its beak is similar to that of a duck and it is covered with a peculiar coat, in spite of possessing warm blood, its skeleton is very similar to the reptile, which is a cold-blooded animal.
They have chests, which are pockets of skin, located on both sides of the mouth cavity. This characteristic is only possessed by rodents and they use them to store food and ingest it later. So, the platypus also has some rodent in it.
Apparently, these animals that we usually see in pictures and that seem to be of an enormous size, are all a deception, since platypus have a smaller size than a house cat; males get to measure between 41 and 62 centimeters long and only weigh 3 kilos.
Their tails bear great resemblance to beavers’; their hind legs resemble those of otters, which are usually webbed and serve as rudders for them to move around in the water; and on land, they use them to dig.
While underwater, platypuses only leave their beaks in contact with the surface of the water, but they usually close their eyes, ears and nose, so the beak is the only organ left in contact with the outside, which in turn serves them to locate brief energetic emanations or electromagnetic fields, generated by the movements of their prey.
Males store in their hind legs a powerful poison that can cause terrible pain and severe inflammation in their victims. The home of these mysterious beings is usually built by themselves and they can dig burrows up to 30 meters deep. These magnificent animals are a gift of nature.
July 1, 2020
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