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platypus, an animal study at

Platypus Animal Study and Lapbook
Created by Kris White

A Platypus is Like...
What's for Dinner? Wheel
Babies Envelope Fold
Feeding Fact Matchbooks
All in the Family File Folder
Platypus Facts
Burrowing T-book
Australian Animals Accordion
Breathing Comparison Map Shutterfold Cover Page


A Platypus is Like…

Beaver ~ The platypus has a strong tail like a beaver.
Bird ~ The platypus lays eggs like a bird.
Duck ~ The platypus has a bill and webbed feet like a duck.
Mole ~ The platypus can borrow in the ground like a mole.
Otter ~ The platypus has fur like an otter.
Snake ~ The platypus shoots venom like a snake.

Where Does the Platypus Live?
The platypus lives only in the eastern part of Australia and on the island of Tasmania.  A reference map has been provided below to help your child shade the correct regions of Australia.

A platypus can stay underwater for 2 to 3 minutes.  Its nostrils are on the top of its bill so it can stay under the water and breathe at the same time!  For this minit book have your child write how long the platypus can stay under the water.  Then, get a stopwatch and see how long you child can hold his/her breath.  Record your results under the appropriate flap.  In the center of the book write a little about the bill of the platypus and how he can breath under the water.

What’s for Dinner?
The  latypus eats worms, slugs, shrimp, larvae, eggs, and yappies.

Feeding Facts
The platypus is awake for about 12 hours and spends this time swimming and searching for food.  A platypus can eat its own body weight in food in one night.  Its bill works as a highly tuned receptor picking up the weak electric fields of the shrimps and worms it eats; it can even detect prey under mud and rocks.

The platypus digs and lives in a burrow underground near the water.  The burrow can be up to 60 feet long.  A platypus lays her eggs in the burrow.

Platypus Facts
A platypus lives up to 17 years in captivity.  It has dark brown fur with light brown hair on its belly.  A platypus can grow to up to 2 feet from head to tail.  The Platypus has webbed feet to help it swim.  The platypus weight from 2.2 to 4.8 pounds.  Its short legs have strong claws and webbed feet.  The webbing can be rolled up into its palms to free its claws for digging. 
Platypus Babies
The mother platypus usually lays her sticky, soft-skinned eggs in pairs.   More rarely one or three eggs are laid.  When three eggs are laid, they are attached in a triangle.   She keeps the eggs in the burrow and keeps them warm on her belly and covered with her tail. 

The babies, called puggles, are born blind and without fur, within two weeks.  A week or so later, the babies suckle milk from their mother, not from the nipples but from tufts of hair.  The babies drink milk off of their mother’s fur for four to five months. The platypus is not an ordinary mammal, it’s different. It’s labeled a monotreme.

Classification -- Platypus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Prototheria
Order: Monotremata
Family: Ornithorhynchidae
Genus: Ornithorhynchus
Species: anatinus

Binomial name:  Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Unique Australian Animals
Have your child identify some animals that are unique to Australia.  You can include as much or as little information as you would like about these animals.  Some of the animals are kangaroo, koala, dingo, wombat, Tasmanian devil, and green tree frog.  More information about each of these animals can be found here.  

All in the Family
What other animal is like the platypus?  The spiny anteater of course!  The spiny anteater is also known as an echidna.   These animals are monotremes (egg-laying mammals).  Monotremes live only in Australia and New Guinea.

Possible Resources

Educational Favorites Duckbill Platapus


Platypus! by Ginjer L. Clarke
A Platypus, Probably by Sneed B. Collard III
Platypus by Joan Short, Jack Green, and Bettina Bird

Platypus by Chris Riddell
Platypus and the Lucky Day by Chris Riddell

General Websites

Enchanted Learning's information about monotremes

Enchanted Learning's printout for the spiny anteater (echnida)

Enchanted Learning's printout for the duckbill platypus (includes video and audio clip)

Arts and Crafts

DLTK's Platypus Toilet Paper Roll Craft

Danielle's Place  Platypus Paper Bag Puppet

Sew your own stuffed platypus (with mom’s help)-- Craft Bits' Plattie the Platypus  (a link to print the pattern is after the pictures.)