LIVE PLATYPUS WEBCAM AT SAN DIEGO ZOO
The platypus is also known as the duck-billed platypus, and is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal. Platypuses live in only one, small area of the world. They are found in the freshwater areas that flow throughout the island of Tasmania and the eastern and southeastern coast of Australia. Within their range, they are found in many climate extremes / from plateaus, lowlands and tropical rainforests, to the cold mountains of Tasmania and the Australian Alps. Their waterproof, thick fur keeps platypuses warm in chilly temperatures, and their big tails store extra fat for energy.
The bill of a platypus, has a smooth texture that feels like suede. It is also flexible and rubbery. The skin of the bill holds thousands of receptors that help the platypus navigate underwater and detect movement of potential food, such as shrimp.
Platypuses are among the few mammals which are venomous. The male platypus has a spur on the back of his hind feet that is connected to a venom-secreting gland. More venom is secreted during mating season, leading researchers to think that the spurs and venom help males compete for mates. The venom is not life threatening to humans, but it can cause severe swelling and "excruciating pain."