What Do Platypus Eat?

The Platypus, sometimes known as the duck-billed platypus, due to the duck-like bill on its face, is classed as part of the Ornithorhynchidae family, and is known as the genus or category; Ornithorhynchus. It is the only creature alive today from the Ornithorhynchidae family.

The Ornithorhynchidae family are mammals known as monotremes. Monotremes are rare mammals that lay eggs, instead of carrying their young in a womb. Their eggs are very small and hatch within ten days.

What do platypus eat is answered differently for adults and young. Just like other mammals, platypus’ nurse their young with milk. A baby platypus needs to feed on its mother’s milk supply for around 3-4 months before it is ready to begin seeking out its own food.

What do platypus eat?

A platypus eats crayfish, shrimp, worms, insect larva, and other smaller animals. Platypuses are predators and their food depends on what they could hunt in their habitat.

Platypuses are semiaquatic, meaning that they live in both water and on land. Therefore, what do platypus eat, depends on whether they choose to hunt in water or on the ground? They are native to the southern hemisphere and can be found in fresh-water rivers, streams, and lakes, in both Australia and Tasmania.

They are carnivores, that do not eat any vegetation. They swim through the water, using their bill to catch insects and worms. They also dig in the mud of riverbeds or surrounding lakes, to catch small creatures that bury within it.

Platypuses have pouches in their cheeks, which they fill with prey, to feed on back at their burrows or on the surface of the water. Platypuses use their nails and feet to construct dirt burrows at the water’s edge.

Male platypuses have the ability to shoot venom from the heels of their feet. They do not use their venom for hunting but instead use it to defend themselves from other mammals. They may also use it to compete with other male platypuses during the mating season.

Although the venom is strong enough to paralyze smaller mammals, it is not so effective in humans. It can, however, cause pain and swelling in the afflicted area.

What is the platypus diet?

What do platypus eat can be categorized in two ways: they prey on both insects and crustaceans. Platypuses hunt annelid worms, insect larvae, and several types of crustacean, including freshwater shrimp, crabfish, and yabbies.

The platypus needs to eat about 20% of its own body weight each day, which requires it to spend an average of 12 daily hours looking for food. They are generally bottom feeders, that scoop up insects and larvae, shellfish, and worms in their bill along with bits of gravel and stone from the riverbed.

This material is stored in cheek pouches and, at the surface, or back at its burrow, it crushes it into a pulp to consume. As platypuses do not have teeth, any stones that are collected along with their prey, are used to help crush what they have collected in their mouths. So you could say that what do platypus eat is occasionally rocks!

Platypuses are the only mammals, apart from one species of dolphin, that use electroreception to locate their prey by detecting electric fields generated by movement. A platypus can dip its bill into the mud and sense the approach of another animal nearby.

What animals is a platypus made of?

Until recently, scientists used to be perplexed at the evolutionary biology of the platypus. The oldest discovered fossil of the modern platypus dates back to about 100,000 years ago.

The platypus genome has been sequenced revealing a surprising mix of traits, that explain its complex appearance and mating and hunting behaviors.  The genome analysis carried out by the Australian National University in Canberra, confirms that the platypus was the earliest offshoot of the mammalian family tree, thought to have split from other mammals at least 166 million years ago.

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