Life Cycles: The Platypus

Male and female platypuses can breed when they are about two years old. They mate in the water. Sperm from the male's body passes onto the female's body and makes the eggs inside her body fertile. This means the eggs will grow and hatch.

The female lays one or two white eggs in a nesting burrow which she digs in a riverbank.

She holds the eggs close to her body to keep them warm.

The eggs hatch about a week later. The young platypus uses an egg tooth on the tip of its bill to break out of the soft-shelled egg.

The young suck milk (a bit like a vacuum cleaner) from the female's stomach where milk oozes onto her skin.

When they are about three months old, the young playpuses leave the burrow and learn to swim and hunt for food.

Go here to find some illustrations of the life cycle of the platypus
Go here for more kidcyber information about the platypus

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Life cycles: Platypuses (2003). [Online], Available: www.kidcyber.com.au

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updated July 2007