Platypus Facts for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

The Australian platypus is an odd mammal with an otter-like body, duck-like bill, webbed feet and beaver-like tail. Platypuses live on land and feed in water, where swimming is easy. The animal has no teeth--the gravel it consume helps to digest food. When scientists discovered the platypus, they did not believe such an animal could exist.


The size of a platypus is 20 inches from head to tail, with the body being 15 inches, and tail 5 inches. A platypus weighs 3 lbs. or about 1 to 1.5 kilos.


Platypuses stay under water for up to two minutes. Sealed nostrils and protective eye and ear membranes keep water out.


A male platypus uses stingers on his back feet to inject victims with poison.


Platypuses eat insects, shellfish, worms and larvae at the bottom of water sources. They scoop with their bills, stuffing food into their cheeks.


On land, the platypus moves awkwardly. By exposing nails on each foot, the platypus can walk, run and dig.

Expert Insight

Females lay up to two eggs. The tiny babies hatch after about 10 days, staying with their mother for several months.

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About the Author

Ashlee Simmons has written professionally for more than 10 years. Her writing focus is travel, equestrian and health and medical articles, but she enjoys writing human interest stories as well. Simmons graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a liberal arts degree.