The Platypus is an egg-laying mammal that can naturally be found in Australia and Tasmania. They are semiaquatic creatures and are reliant on bodies of freshwater, such as streams and rivers. The appearance of this animal is somewhat strange: it has a bill that looks like that of a duck, a tail of a beaver, and feet of an otter. Their body is broad and covered with brown water-proof fur with a texture that is similar to that of a mole. The fur helps the platypus to stay warm by trapping a layer of insulating air. In addition, platypuses are among the few species of mammals that are venomous. They have sharp stingers located on the rear part of their feet, which they can use to inflict venom to its enemy. This venom can cause extreme pain to human beings. Platypuses are carnivorous animals and their typical diet consists of freshwater shrimp, annelid worms, yabby, shellfish, and insect larvae, among others. When they hunt underwater, their eyes and ears are covered by folds of skin and their nostrils close so water won’t be able to enter. While they are graceful when in the water, they move a bit awkwardly on land.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the platypus is categorized as Near Threatened. There is enough evidence which suggest that the numbers of platypuses have plunged rapidly. In South Australia, this egg-laying mammal is considered Endangered. Their populations are threatened by the reduction in river flows and streams brought by extraction of water for agricultural, industrial, and domestic purposes, as well as successive droughts. Other threats include extensive flooding due to tropical cyclones, water pollution, and habitat modification due to erosion.