Among the many unique creatures that walk the earth, one of the most iconic animals is the baby platypus. It has many characteristics that stem from the combination of numerous animal species. This delicate tiny bub undoubtedly attracts everyone, and nobody can take their eyes off it.
Baby platypus’ existence was at first considered a joke by many. When a species of the platypus was shown to the scientists, they thought it was only organs of different animals grouped together and not something that really existed.
Today we will discuss the cute baby platypus in detail. We will see which of its characteristics attract people towards it and why it is getting so much attention.
Do you know that the baby platypus actually looks like a mythological chimera? Let’s investigate further to see how that’s possible. Keep reading!
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Before discussing the baby platypus, let us get a brief understanding of the platypus.
Below is the scientific classification of platypus.
Platypus belongs to the kingdom Animalia.
Platypus is from the phylum of Chordata.
Mammalia is the class in which platypuses are enlisted. This is so because their young feed on their mother’s milk.
As platypus lay eggs, therefore, they are included in the order Monotremata.
Ornithorhynchidae is the platypus’ family.
The Platypus genus is Ornithorhynchus.
O. anatinus is the platypus species which is also its scientific name.
As the platypus belongs to the monotremes category it is the one and only mammal that possesses the electroreception sense. This means that they can quickly identify and detect their prey by observing the electric fields produced by the muscular contractions. Of all the monotremes, the platypus has the most sensitive electroreception.
Their electroreceptors are present in their bill skin, being most prominent in the rostrocaudal rows.
A bio fluorescence research of 2020 shows that when placed in front of black light, the platypus gleams a bluish-green color.
The longstanding mystery surrounding the platypus’s reproductive method was finally resolved in 1884 when William Hay Caldwell’s team definitively established that the platypus is a mammal that indeed lays eggs.
Fossil records and the molecular clock show that platypuses were separated from the echidnas around 19 to 48 million years ago.
The oldest fossil of the modern platypus dates back to the quaternary period, 100,000 years ago. Various fossil records of the platypus indicate their presence in different regions in multiple eras.
Humans used the platypus as food and as a cultural reference.
Platypuses prefer to stay alone, but it does not mean they don’t share their aquatic habitat with other platypuses. They spend most of their time in the water searching for food. The rest of their time is spent in the burrows or relaxing in the sun.
Many thought that the baby platypus appears like a chimera (a mythological creature) because it has a beaver-like tail, duck-like bill, stingers that resemble that of reptiles, otter-like fur, and feet that are webbed and sharp claws. In other words, they look like a wild combination of vastly different species.
Other Names Of Baby Platypus
Many animal babies are known by specific names. In a short time, the baby platypus also got a nickname, namely: puggle. Do you think that you have heard this name before? There’s a big chance you have since the echidna, an Australian mammal, also has the same nickname.
It is possible that the name of this unique creature’s babies should be changed to “platypup” in the future. However, it is still in the debate and there are no confirmed reports.
Weight Of Normal Baby Platypus
When the puggle platypus is born, it weighs only about 50 to 80 grams as it is very fragile and small. At the time of hatching, the puggle platypus is only the size of a nickel.
As they can not swim at this stage, their mother cares for them for about three to four months.
Size Of Puggle Platypus
At the time of birth, the baby platypus is only around 3 cm in size. Therefore they require significant care as they are completely dependent on their mothers. At the age of 18 months, they mature sexually and become fully grown.
Baby Platypus Habitat
Baby platypuses cannot find food for themselves and depend on their mothers. Therefore puggle platypuses live in a tunnel dug by their mothers, where they hatch from the eggs. After a few months, they make their first attempt at swimming and thus start spending some time in the water.
Baby platypus is found only near Tasmania and in eastern Australia. They hide during the day and find food at night, and only occasionally are they active during the day.
Platypus Babies Food
As you know, platypuses are mammals, so like all other mammals, they feed their young with milk. But one fantastic thing about them is that the mother platypus doesn’t have teats. Instead, the mother platypus sweat out the milk, so the milk pools into the grooves, which the baby platypus then drinks. They also suck the milk from the mother’s hair. Interesting!
Baby platypuses eat various things. The nursery-age platypus eats insects, and the juvenile platypus’s diets include shrimp, crayfish, and other tiny fish. When a platypus grows into an adult, it eats dragonflies, water beetles, and other aquatic invertebrates.
Interesting Facts About Baby Platypus
They possess various features which make this creature especially unique. Below, we have explained the most interesting facts about the adorable baby platypus.
#1 Baby Platypus Have Temporary Teeth At Birth
As platypi are mammals hatched from the egg, the process begins when the mature female platypus is ready to lay an egg. The female platypus digs a tunnel-like portion in the soil, and here she lays her eggs and sleeps on top of them to ensure they get enough incubation time.
Like other creatures hatched from an egg, the baby platypus already has teeth (called egg teeth) at the time of hatching, allowing them to break the egg shell and enjoy the new life.
When they become four months old, they lose all their teeth and never get them back. At that time, the baby platypus is ready to swim as their mother taught them everything in the initial four months of its life.
As adults, platypuses are without teeth, so they use a little rock or gravel in order to assist them in chewing the food properly.
#2 Venomous Male Baby Platypus
One of the interesting facts about the male “puggle” is that they are venomous. On their hind legs, there’s a stinger that secretes venom.
It was believed that the male puggle platypus produces venom for protection against the wild. A bit later, a strange observation was made that shows that the male puggle platypus produces venom during the mating season. Hence, it is suggested that this venom could help the males in the mating period.
Did you know? Throughout the world, only 16 mammals are venomous.
#3 Baby Platypus Hatch From Egg Although Its A Mammal
Another fantastic fact about this unique creature is that they are different from other mammals since they hatch from an egg. Baby platypuses belong to the monotremes category of mammals. They have cold body temperatures as compared to other mammals but are nonetheless warm-blooded organisms.
#4 Baby Platypus Can’t Swim
Baby platypuses are mammals that can’t swim just after birth. Although when they become adults, they can swim about 2.5 miles per hour. When platypuses are babies, they don’t know how to swim. At nine months old, the puggles start swimming in order to find food for themselves.
Like many other creatures, the puggles also learn swimming and other things necessary for their survival and growth from their mothers. The platypus mama teaches the baby how to swim, how to steer, and how to pair the tail with webbed feet to reach fast speeds.
#5 A Hairless Body
When hatching from the egg, the baby platypus has no hair on their body. After four months, they develop a complete hair coat that protects their skin fully. Their hair glows in the UV blacklight.
Their furs are waterproof, meaning they are able to spend hours in the water, and their coat is still fully dry after swimming.
#6 Absence Of Stomach In Platypus Babies
Humans have only one stomach, but there are animals with different numbers of stomachs as well. It may seem impossible, but it is true that platypups are indeed born without a stomach. Therefore whatever food they eat moves directly to the intestines.
Further research shows that there is no specific cause of stomach absence in the puggle platypus except that their food is so simple it doesn’t need a further breakdown.
Number Of Baby Platypus Born In A Litter
At one time, the female platypus lays one or two eggs, or a maximum of three eggs. She keeps the eggs near her body to provide heat for the incubation through her tail. After ten days, the eggs hatch, and a baby platypus the size of a lima bean is born. Hence, three baby platypuses at most are born in a single litter.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 What is a baby platypus called?
Baby platypuses are known as puggles. But there is a possibility that the baby platypus’s name will change to platypup. Still, this name is yet to be officially announced.
#2 How venomous is a baby platypus?
The baby platypus is famous for being among the list of those rare mammals that are venomous. But it is essential to consider that only the male puggle platypus is venomous, not the female. The male baby platypus venom has an immediate effect and causes unbearable pain, similar to the sting of hundreds of hornets.
#3 Are platypuses friendly?
The platypus is a shy mammal and doesn’t attack humans, but at the same time, the platypus ignores encounters with humans. The adult platypus doesn’t have teeth, so there is no danger of biting.
#4 Can you keep a baby platypus as a pet?
Many people would love to have a baby platypus as a pet, but keep in mind the male platypus is venomous, so it can cause severe harm. In Australia, you can’t legally own a platypus as a pet, and neither can you export the baby platypus.
#4 Is the platypus born alive?
The platypus is not born alive; instead, they belong to that category of mammals that hatch from eggs; thus, they are known as monotremes.
#6 Is the platypus blind?
The platypus is not blind, but their eyes are located above their bills so they can’t see easily below them. There are skin flaps over the platypus, which cover their ears and eyes in the water, so you can say that while swimming, the platypus is temporarily blind. To find food quickly, the platypus usees their bill underwater.
The Bottom Line
The baby platypus is a very fantastic creature that breaks all the rules. Yes, that’s true because although the baby platypus is a mammal, it is hatched from an egg. The mother doesn’t feed the baby through teats; instead, the milk is sucked from the mother’s body grooves by the platypup.
Also, baby platypuses are very small in size, and their body is hairless at the time of birth. Baby platypuses are also called puggles, but it is not official. The platypus is born with teeth that help them free themselves from the eggshell once the incubation period is complete.
Baby platypuses have otter-like feet, duck-like beaks, and beaver-like tails. Baby platypuses hatch from eggs like birds but get fed like mammals.
Thank you for reading about the baby platypus! There is an abundance of strange and unique animal species on our planet, we’ve also listed The most Unique Ant Species that we think you’d enjoy.