A Strange Animal

 

    Yesterday while watching Discovery Channel I learnt about a very strange creature . DO you know that there is only one mammal that is poisonous and it is the   Platypus .

      And this is not the only thing that is strange about it . The Platypus is found only in eastern Australia . They lives on the edges of rivers and lakes . Platypus are excellent swimmers and can stay underwater for 3 to 5 minutes . Platypus must continuously swim downwards with its forefeet to remain submerged . They only way it can rest underwater  is by resting under submerged rocks . The Platypus closes its eyes and ears once underwater . Then how does it catch its prey ( snails , shrimps etc ) ? It does so using its very sensitive duck like snout and by electric navigation . It does not eat its food underwater . It stores it in the folds in its cheeks and eats it once it comes back to the surface .

      A platypus is about 60 centimetres in length and weighs about 2 kgs . The male platypus has two sharp , hollow , horny spurs(projections) on its hind legs . These are connected to poison glands . They have enough poison to kill a man . Platypus “stings” are extremely painful . Females dont have poison glands or spurs so the main function of spurs in the male platypus is during fights over female platypus .

      Another funny thing about the platypus is that it is a mammal but it lays eggs ! The only other mammal that lays eggs is the Echidna ( a small animal found in Australia ) . Such mammals are called monoterms .

      The platypus females dont have any teats . They ooze the milk from the fur and the platypus young lick off it .

      Platypus have a beak which resembles duck beaks . So it almost looks like a cross between the birds and the mammals .

 The platypus’s red blood cells carry larger amounts of hemoglobin than any other mammal . This allows the platypus to go without air for longer periods. The heart rate of a platypus can drop from 140 – 230 beats a minute to almost 0 beats per minute .

 

            I found a nice little poem on written by Ogden Nash (who also happens to be my favourite poet ) .

PS : anomalous means having an anomaly ( defect ) , platitude means dullness .

 

                  The Platypus     by Ogden Nash

                  =============

  I like the duck billed platypus

  Because it is anomalous

  I like the way it raises it family

  Partly birdly , partly mammaly

  I like its independent attitude

  Let no one call it duck billed platitude .

 

 

Enjoy,

Kanwar

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