A Few Of One Type Of Animal Species Left Are Duck Billed Platypuses Poisonous – A Unique But Venomous Australian

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Are Duck Billed Platypuses Poisonous – A Unique But Venomous Australian

Platypus is one of the very few poisonous mammals. Two species of the Caribbean solenodon and a few species of shrew use poisonous saliva to overcome prey, usually larger than themselves, but the platypus has something completely different and of unknown function.

Rear-ankle spurs are found in all three species of monotreme. With their associated glands, they are known as the crural system. In females of all species of monotreme the spur is lost during the first year of life. Although spurs and glands persist in male echidnas of both species, echidnas do not seem to use the system to inject venom; platypus do.

Changes in the structure of the spur in male platypuses can be used to grow animals up to 15 months after they leave the breeding grounds. Fully grown adult spurs are about 15 millimeters (2 inches) in length, can be released from the ankles, and can be moved into an object by the action of the muscles of the hind legs.


The puncture alone is painful, but the injected venom can cause symptoms ranging from local pain and swelling to paralysis of an entire limb in humans.

When the species was hunted for its pelt, the animals were surprised by a large caliber gun shot under them in the water and a gun dog was sent out to retrieve the animal. There are many stories of dogs killed by platypus recovering and raising them successfully.


The nature of the poison is unknown, as is its function. An early biologist suggested that the male used his thrusts to impress the female during intercourse, but recent observations show that the female may be more flirtatious, and not need such control.

The glands associated with the spur advance and return with the testes during the breeding season, and it is thought that their function is related to reproduction. Indeed, males are very aggressive to each other and to any other animal at this time of the year.

The social system in platypuses is completely unknown, but the retention of the movement system only in male platypuses seems to indicate that it may be used in the establishment of territories or access to mates during the breeding season. In the wild animals presumably have the opportunity to escape such encounters, which have been known to result in death in captivity. The spurs certainly represent a barrier to predators, but their loss in females suggests that this is not their primary function.

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