What Does It Look Like?  Unmistakable. Dense dark greyish to brown fur above, with flat paddle-shaped tail and broad, greyish-brown ‘duck-like’ bill that extends over the forehead and chin. Underparts paler greyish or reddish-brown. Front feet fully webbed, with web extending past claws, and rear feet partially webbed. Males have a poisonous spur on ankle of each hind leg.

Where Does It Live?  Eastern and south-eastern Australia, from south-eastern Cape York Peninsula Qld, through eastern NSW and southern Vic to Tas. Introduced to King Islands in Bass Strait and Kangaroo Island SA.

What Are Its Habtats & Habits?  Regularly flowing river systems and associated billabongs, where it hunts along the bottom of the waterway for a variety of large aquatic invertebrates. Nesting chamber at the end of a long burrow with the entrance just above the water level, and up to 3 (usually 2) soft-shelled eggs are incubated for around 12 days before they hatch, after which the young are fed with milk for around 4 months.

Interesting Fact:  Bill has electrosensors and mechanoreceptors to detect electrical pulses and movement of prey.

Scientific name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Size: 390-6o0 mm TL (males generally larger than females)

Also known as: Duck-billed Platypus

Do you want to know more about Australia’s mammals? Check out our latest book “The Naturalist’s Guide to Mammals of Australia” – available for purchase at major retailers or directly from us