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Listed under:  Science  >  Life  >  Living things  >  Eukaryotes  >  Animals  >  Chordates  >  Vertebrates  >  Mammals  >  Monotremes  >  Platypuses
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Platypus at play

The platypus is an egg-laying mammal, perfectly adapted to its watery home in Australia's freshwater lakes, rivers and streams. With its streamlined body, webbed feet like paddles and broad tail, it dives and swims underwater in search of food. Catch a rare glimpse of this Australian animal in its natural habitat.


Platypus skull

This is a colour photograph of the internal skull of a platypus ('Ornithorhynchus anatinus'). This museum specimen displays two components of the skull: the braincase with fused rostrum and the lower jaw. This image has a pale background and includes a black scale line representing 2 cm. Museum identification labels are ...

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Decoding the platypus genome

Find out what scientists have discovered from decoding the platypus genome. Learn how these discoveries provide some surprising insights into this unusual animal's underwater feeding, number of sex chromosomes, protection of its young and evolution of the male platypus's venomous spur.

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Observing a platypus

Meet one of the world's most amazing creatures. Listen as Don Spencer describes the features of a platypus. Watch a platypus clean itself and then swim under water to search for food. See what type of animal the platypus catches and feeds on by the water's edge.


Animal weapons: platypus

This is a colour clip showing the platypus ('Ornithorhynchus anatinus'), an Australian monotreme, emerging from its burrow in the river bank to hunt in the river. The platypus uses its webbed, paddle-shaped feet to swim as it searches for prey. It uses its bill, which functions as an electroreceptor, to search within the ...

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A song about platypus

Watch as a platypus emerges from its burrow on the bank of a billabong (small lake). As you watch, listen to Don Spencer's song as he describes seeing a platypus and explores its unusual looks.


Platypus walking on grass, 1971

This is a colour photograph taken in 1971 of a platypus walking up a grassy hill, perhaps on the bank of a stream.

Interactive resource

Platypus life cycle

Help platypuses and their families to survive. Choose where to lay eggs and how to care for babies. Answer questions about feeding and reproductive behaviour. Investigate how people affect platypus habitats.


Nature of Australia - A Separate Creation, 1989: That bizarre creature, the platypus

This clip shows a platypus in the wild, seeking and eating its prey. In the early scenes the platypus emerges from a burrow and moves through the water as the narrator describes some of its distinctive traits. Next, the platypus is shown using its sensitive bill to hunt and then using the horny plates in its mouth to grind ...

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Playtpus: the young male leaves the burrow

Platypus young are born and grow in the protection of a burrow. In this clip we see a young male platypus leave the burrow for the first time. This platypus has spent between 14 and 15 weeks in its burrow. See what it does on its first outing. This is one clip in a series of three.

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Playtpus: where are the young hiding?

The platypus protects its young in a burrow. Watch this amazing footage of two platypus babies inside the nesting chamber of one of these burrows. You'll be fascinated to watch as the mother, Shy, comes back to feed her 13-week-old young. This is one clip in a series of three.

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Playtpus: seeking out food

The platypus is rarely seen in the wild. Watch this female platypus, named Shy, filmed on the South Esk River, Tasmania, as she seeks food for her young. Marvel at the underwater footage as she scours the river bottom for tasty morsels. This is one clip in a series of three.

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What's the plural for 'octopus'?

Do you know what the plural for octopus is? What about the plural for platypus? See if you can guess the plurals for both before you watch this video. What were your reasons for choosing the plurals you did?


Skin and scales, feathers and fur

This collection of media resources focuses on the features of a variety of animals and how these features help the animals meet their needs for food, shelter and safety from predators.


National parks: Tasmanian Wilderness

This is a colour clip showing some of the landscapes, flora and fauna of Tasmania's unique Wilderness area. The clip describes the most recent glaciation of Tasmania, the landforms and lakes that resulted and the people who witnessed it. It then illustrates the behaviours of the platypus ('Ornithorhynchus anatinus') and ...

Interactive resource

The place that's right for me

Explore a range of Australian environments: eucalypt forest, hollow log, river bank and desert. Find animals that live there. Examine how each animal's body parts are adapted to living in its habitat. Look at a range of Australian animals such as a kookaburra, wombat, frog and lizard. Explore how their body parts are adapted ...


'Healthy waterways' postcard, 2003

This is a postcard published by and promoting Melbourne Water, a water management organisation owned by the Victorian Government. One side of the postcard has photographs of a creek and a platypus. At the bottom is the text 'healthy waterways'. The reverse side provides information about the role of Melbourne Water in managing ...


The life cycle of echidnas

This is a colour clip showing the development of a juvenile echidna ('Tachyglossus aculeatus'), or puggle, from an egg to a sub-adult. The clip begins with a sequence showing some iconic Australian marsupials and the narrator explaining that echidnas are monotremes. Scientists are shown taking measurements and weights of ...


Dragonfly habitat, Tidbinbilla River

This is a colour photograph of dragonfly habitat on the Tidbinbilla River, Australian Capital Territory.

Mobile app

Taronga Zoo - Wild Australia: iPad app

This iPad app is designed for Stage 2 students to use while on excursion in the Wild Australia area in Taronga Zoo Sydney and at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Students create a field report from observations and can email and review their editable summary poster for further study back at school. The app has intuitive ...