Duckbill Platypus


    by Sean H


    Greetings Mrs. Munro and fellow classmates.  My speech is about the duckbill platypus. 


    I chose this topic because the platypus is a strange animal and it lives only in Australia and Tasmania.  Duckbill platypuses are mammals which were discovered in 1798.  They are unusual because they lay eggs.  Most mammals donít lay eggs.  Instead they give birth to live babies.  The platypus belongs to a group of mammals called monotremes.  Monotremes include the duckbill platypus and two species of  spiny anteaters.  Spiny anteaters are sometimes called spiny echidnas.  They also lay eggs just like the platypus.


    Platypuses live in rivers and creeks and can swim underwater.  They canít breath underwater but  they can hold their breath for a long time.  They can only have three or less babies in a year.  Duckbill platypuses have fur that is warmer than a polar bearís fur.  Platypuses have webbed feet and a beak like a duck.  Their tail and body is like a beaverís.  This animal is so unusual that the scientists who first discovered it by looking at a dead one thought someone had played a trick by attaching a duck and a beaver!


    Platypuses have a sensor in their beak that can detect electrical activity that comes from their prey when their prey moves.  When they are on land, platypuses use their eyes to find their prey but when they are underwater, they shut their eyes, ears and nostrils tightly and use their electrical sense to find their prey.   Their favourite food is freshwater shrimp, other crustaceans, worms, and insect larvae.  The platypusí electrical sense was only discovered in 1986 when scientists were surprised to learn that platypuses were attracted to batteries.  This was almost two hundred years after the species was first discovered!  Even the small electric current given off by a shrimp flicking its tail can be detected by the platypusí electrical sense.


    The platypus is a very unusual and interesting animal.  I hope you have enjoyed learning a few facts about them.  Thank you.