Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Ornithorhynchus anatinus


Body length 370 mm, tail length 130 mm. Luxuriously dense fur; tan brown above, lighter gold-brown on belly. Flattened, duck-like bill; webbed feet. Male has venom-delivering spur on hind foot.

Habitat and Range:

Freshwater (occasionally brackish) streams, some dams and lakes. Common in outer Brisbane, but secretive and seldom seen. Coastal Australia from Cooktown, Qld, to Vic. and throughout Tas.


When swimming, Platypus looks similar to the Water Rat but lacks visible ears and a white-tipped tail. Active at dawn and dusk, or, all day if overcast. Eats mostly larval and adult aquatic invertebrates. Breeds July-August; its 2 eggs hatch after 10 days incubation; young are weaned at 3-4 months.


Set fishing nets, dogs, foxes, chemical pollution, dredging, dams.


An elliptical burrow entrance (75 mm X 100-125 mm) just above water level and among tree roots.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.