How to Identify a Platypus

How to Identify a Platypus

Platypuses, sometimes called Duckbill, are fascinating creatures that resemble a multi-animal hybrid. They have very unique features and are known as one of the two mammal species which lay eggs. Platypuses are native to eastern Oceania and can be rather hard to identify sometimes, especially from afar. This guide will help you correctly identify a platypus.

Steps

1
Look for a duck bill. This is the most unique and easily identified feature of a platypus. Platypuses have the bill of a duck even though it is a mammal. From where the animal's snout should be, there is a black bill. [1] X Research source The bill of the platypus is also soft and pliable. [2] X Research source If you are close enough to touch the bill, check the hardness.
2
Check the body shape of the animal. Platypuses have a small, streamlined body that is perfect for swimming through the water. [3] X Research source They have a small head and a larger body, like most animals.
3
Look for short, stubby limbs. The arms and legs of a platypus are so short that they are hardly visible. [4] X Research source Look for limbs that connect the feet of the animal almost directly to the body.
4
Look for webbed feet. Platypuses spend a lot of their time in the rivers of Australia. They have webbed feet to help them swim in the rapids. [5] X Research source Their feet are black and close to their body.
5
Look for claws on the tips of each finger. Platypuses live on land as well as water, sleeping in burrows on riverbanks that need to be dug. Claws line each finger of a platypus' foot to help then dig holes. [6] X Research source
6
Look for a flat, broad tail. Platypuses have this tail shape to help them swim and use as a rudder. It widely resembles the tail of a beaver. [7] X Research source
7
Note the animal's fur color. The thick coat of the platypus can range from dark brown to reddish-brown. [8] X Research source The most common fur color for the platypus is just brown. [9] X Research source However, there are particular cases that they color could appear darker or more red.
8
Look for a light colored underbelly. No matter what the fur color of the animal is, the platypus' underside is always lighter than the rest of the coat. [10] X Research source If you can manage to see the underside of the animal, be sure to check the coat color.
9
Look for patches of white fur under the eyes. Platypuses have flashes of white fur under their eyes. [11] X Research source [12] X Research source The fur color here is always white, no matter what the coat color is.
10
Note the size of the animal. Platypuses are usually about 38–60 centimetres (15–24 in) long. [13] X Research source They aren't very large creatures, just about the height of an average toddler in length, but can be smaller or bigger depending on age.
11
Look for a poison spur on the inner side of the animal's hind foot ankle. Male platypuses have a spike on each back leg ankle that connects to a venom patch on top of the thigh. [14] X Research source [15] X Research source The poison causes immense pain, so make sure not to get hurt when checking for it. Only male platypuses have the venom spur, so an animal not having a venom spur may just mean that its female.
12
Note the time of day. Platypuses are most active from dusk to dawn. [16] X Research source It isn't uncommon to see one during the day, but platypuses are mostly nocturnal.
13
Note your location. Platypuses are native to only eastern Oceania, including the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. [17] X Research source They do not live in other areas unless it is in captivity. The location of the animal in question is very important as platypuses have a very specific habitat.
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