Platypus is mostly prevalent to Eastern Australia in Tasmania. It is a semi-aquatic mammal. It is one of the five species of monotremes. They are known as the only mammals that lay eggs rather than giving birth to the juvenile. In short, it is the sole representative of the family and genus, though quite a number of pertinent species have been located in the fossil record. With its egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed form, it comes across as having an odd appearance to the on-lookers. But, this strange appearance caught the eye of European Naturalists when they first stumbled upon it.
It being a venomous mammal, a spur on the hind foot of the male platypus delivers a poison capable of bringing severe pain to humans. It is one of the most interesting subjects to biologists in terms of evolutionary biology and is an identifiable and iconic symbol of Australia. Is has given appearance as a mascot in a number of national events. Also, it is featured on the reverse of the Australian 20 cent coin.
Dense brown fur is surrounded on the body and the broad, flat tail of Platypus. Its tail is made use for storing reserves of fat. Similar adaptation is found in animals like the Tasmanian devil and fat tailed sheep. Also, webbed feet and large runnery snout also make the features of this animal. From 700g to 2.4 kg, the weight always varies in the case of this animal. Males are larger than females with the length being an average of 50cm for males and 43 cm for females.
Substantially, there is variation in both males and females. It may be due to the factors related to environment like predation and human encroachment. Its body temperature is of 31-32 degrees Celsius, unlike 37 degrees Celsius of those of placental mammals. The three-cusped molars which are equipped in modern platypus are lost in them just or before leaving the breeding burrow. Heavy keratinized pads are possessed by adults. The jaw of this mammal is built differently as compared to other mammals.
The platypus is endemic to small streams and rivers from the cold highlands of Tasmania and the Australian Alps to the tropical rainforests of coastal Queensland as far north as the base of Cape York Peninsula. So, it is semi-aquatic. The proper locations of its whereabouts are not yet well-known. However, it is known that it has become extinct in South Australia.
No longer is it found in the main part of the Murray-Darling Basin. It may be due to the diminishing quality of water caused by the extensive land clearing and irrigation schemes. The circulation of places by this animal remains capricious and mysterious as it disappears from some expected healthy rivers, but makes its presence appear in some other degraded and unexpected rivers. Besides, it is a first-class swimmer. It loves to spend its time in the water foraging for food.