Hello and welcome to another installment of Spooky's Animal Kingdom, where I talk about animals. Last time, I introduced you fine folks to the wonderful Axolotl and their secret plan to dominate the internet. I also said I'd be talking about an ugly and useless sea animal in the next installment, but its ugliness is proving to be formidable. It's a really horrible dumb thing.
So I'm gonna talk about a super cool dumb thing instead! Meet the platypus!
No, that's the wrong one.
Yeah! There we go! The platypus!
Chances are, everyone knows what a platypus is. But who really knows what a platypus is, y'know? Well, take a seat, and I'll tell you all about this gnarly dude.
This thing is cool right off the bat. Platypi... platypuses? ... Platypuses are what's known as monotremes, which are egg-laying mammals. The only other monotremes in the world are four species of echidna. That makes our friend here pretty unique, y'know. They're also a semi-aquatic mammal, like otters and beavers. They're pretty goofy looking animals, so watching them swim would probably be pretty hilarious.
ANIMAL FACT! Platypuses don't mind when people laugh at them. They would too.
What else is cool about these fellas? Well... what if I told you that they don't have nipples? Now, you're probably asking yourself "But Spooky! Every mammal has nipples, don't they? How do they feed their young?" That's just one of those things about monotremes; they're odd. Yes, platypuses do have mammary glands, but no nipples to feed their young with. Instead, they secrete milk from special pores in their skin, and the platypus babies drink up from mama's fat folds. Remember those Gatorade ads where athletes would sweat colorful energy drinks? Platypuses did it first.
There is another thing I want to mention about the platypus. It's this thing here:
This spike is located on the back of the platypus's hind feet. This cute little thing is used to inject a platypus's opponent with a hideously painful paralyzing agent. Platypuses are venomous, y'see. However, the venom is only seasonally active; it's really only used during mating season. Most animals make loud noises or puff out their chests. Alligators just spin, I guess? Meanwhile, male platypuses are out injecting their friends with horrible pain juice so that female platypuses see what cool tough guys they are. These things are crazy, yo.
These guys are native to eastern Australia: large chunks of Queensland and New South Wales, most of Victoria, and all of Tasmania. When Europeans first encountered it, they thought it was some kind of horrible mutant monster. Nobody even believed them at first, probably due to Europe's history of lying about animals.
Europe has gotten better since the 1600's, to be sure.
Although, in the interest of fairness, they weren't too far off. This duck bill and beaver tail-having, egg-laying, otter hair-wearing, mole-looking-like venomous milk-sweating dude is pretty weird. In fantasy, I think people call that a chimera.
Can you tell the difference?
Our pal here has got it good. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the platypus as "least concern". They ain't even worried! Platypuses got survival on lock! Pollution is still an issue, though, so don't pour energy drinks into your local rivers. Platypuses would not be thrilled about that.
So if you've ever heard anyone say that the platypus is the weirdest creature on Earth, or that it's proof that God has a sense of humor, or whatever... they're pretty much right. But what those people don't tell you is that the platypus is awesome! Just goes to show you to never judge a book by it's cover. Or an animal by it's weirdness, for that matter.
Hope ya learned something today. Thanks for reading.