Ornithorhyncus anatinus



"The platypus can be surprisingly active on land. It can run quickly, with body well clear of the ground, treading on the claws, with the swimming membrane tucked under the foot.

Naturally it is thoroughly at home in the water, swimming and diving with ease and celerity. When on the surface it usually floats level, with the feet spread laterally, palms turned upward. It can, however, float on its back in a semi-circular position, with the head and tail raised well above the surface - a position we have seen the crocodile use in Victoria Nyanza when surveying a canoe from a distance.

It is quite possible to keep the platypus in captivity, provided that food and living quarters are exactly suited to its requirements. It enters the water only to feed and get exercise, and at other times warmth and dryness are just as necessary to this animal as to any other. It will feed on prawns, worms, and shellfish.

For the most part the platypus collects its food under water, locating small aquatic insects, worms, crustaceans, etc., on the bottom of the river with its remarkable sensitive bill. The food secured is secreted in the lateral pouch, until ground up by the horny plates which take the place of teeth. When puddling for food it will stay under water for about 60 seconds between whiles for air, and to masticate the contents of the cheek-pouches."


from "The Wild Animals of Australasia" by Le Souef & Burrell, 1926.


Ill tell you what I thinketh

Of Ornithorhyncuth:

I admire her in the plainest of termth;

She has a tough stomach lining,

She needs it when shes dining

On mud full of wriggle-ing wormth.

Her feet are like a beaverth,

Like webbed little leeverth,

She cannot climb to save her little thoul;

But to this shes obliviouth,

Her life is amphibiouth,

Shes happy in her muddy little hole.

Yes, I really like the platyputh -

Not just any this or thataputh,

Shes rare, shes unique, she is cool;

For unlike dog or camel

Shes an egg-laying mammal

The very best exception to the rule.

On her back blowing bubbleth

She hasnt any troubleth,

She is free to go whichever way she choothes. Id like to swim in the drinketh

With Ornithorhyncuth

And all the other little platyputheth.