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 .