"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
from "The Wild Animals of Australasia" by Le Souef &
I’ll tell you what I thinketh
I admire her in the plainest of termth;
She has a tough stomach lining,
She needs it when she’s 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
But to this she’s obliviouth,
Her life is amphibiouth,
She’s happy in her muddy little hole.
Yes, I really like the platyputh -
Not just any this or thataputh,
She’s rare, she’s unique, she is cool;
For unlike dog or camel
She’s an egg-laying mammal –
The very best exception to the rule.
On her back blowing bubbleth
She hasn’t any troubleth,
She is free to go whichever way she
choothes. I’d like to swim in the drinketh
And all the other little platyputheth.