Marine Biology

Platypus Diet



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"Let's put some shrimps on the barbie", a typical Australian may say. Well for a platypus they also enjoy shellfish in their diet. They can be found in lakes, streams and rivers of eastern Australia.

Did you know? A platypus can eat half their body weight everyday, even more. They must eat large quantities of food in order to survive.

The platypus eats at unusual times it feeds in the early hours of the morning and in the late afternoon into dusk. It is a very unsociable animal which is known for being quite shy; it likes to keep himself to himself. It spends roughly two hours in the water eating its body weight in food and then it will return to a burrow that it has made. The burrows are normally located near the feeding areas along river banks or streams.

The diet of the platypus is consists of a wide variety like humans they don't like to eat the same thing day in day out however for the platypus they eat whatever they can find first. It's all about the survival of the fittest! Their diet consists of insect larvae, snails, yabbies, worms, tadpoles and other fauna and shellfish.

They have a distinct way of finding food which enables them to never go hungry. They are adapted to their environment by their duck-billed bill. The bill is sensitive and can detect prey in the mud at the bottom of rivers and around boulders. This is very useful to the platypus because it is able to seek prey that other animals in the rivers are not able to find. It gives the platypus an advantage over the other animals in the river. They are also able to stay under water for approximately five minutes which allows them time to find their food. However sometimes the platypus will just float along the surface of the water ready for prey to swim near and be snapped up quickly. If the platypus stays in the water for too long their fur becomes heavy and waterlogged and can cause them to drown.

An adult platypus generally does not have teeth and so has a very unusual way of eating food. They use the horny plates in their mouth to crush the food. When the bill seeks the food it snaps it up quickly before other animals get it first. It then stores the food in its cheek pouches ready to by crushed and eaten. For younger platypuses it is different. Unlike adults they have molar teeth which they use to chew their food however as they grow older their teeth are replaced my horny ridges in their mouth.

This Australian animal belongs to family called Ornithorhynchiade, which is quite a hard word to say. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have enjoyed researching it.

Sources:
http://www.aussie-info.com/identity/fauna/platypus.php
http://teachit.acreekps.vic.edu.au/animals/platypus.htm

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