Female platypuses produce milk, but their mammary glands don’t protrude as nipples. Instead, they secrete milk much like our skin secretes sweat.

Baby Platypus   © Faye Bedford via LandLearn NSW

The Platypus is a unique Australian species. Along with echidnas, Platypuses are grouped in a separate order of mammals known as Monotremes, which are distinguished from all other mammals because they lay eggs.

Within the polygynous mating system in which males and females have multiple mating partners in their lifetime, the females are believed to become sexually mature at two years old and remain breeding until over nine years of age. While the male takes no responsibility in caring for their young after mating, the pregnant female builds a nest in a long complex burrow in less than a week.
During the egg incubation period, a female holds the eggs pressed by her tail to her belly, while curled up.
When the young hatch, the female starts secreting milk and for about three to four months the young Platypuses suckle from the two milk patches covered by fur on the female’s abdomen. The female spends most of this time with her young in the burrow. Towards the end of the summer the young emerge from the nest to face their fate as young independent animals.

Platypus are mainly solitary animals that only gather during the mating season, they will spend around 12 hours daily swimming and searching for food in solitude.

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