Thursday, July 9, 2020

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds part four, our Platypus

Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

In my first post on the topic of the CBCA 2020 slogan I talked about the curious giraffe which was sent to Paris. Today I'm going to focus on another curious animal - our Australian Platypus or scientific name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus.

Here are some of the curious facts about our Australian Platypus:
  • One of only two Monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world - the other is the Echidna.
  • The platypus is a venomous  mammal
  • In 1799 preserved examples of the platypus seen in Britain were deemed a fake - it was thought that somebody had sewn a duck's beak onto the body of a beaver-like animal.
  • You can see the platypus on our 20 cent coin
  • No one can agree what to call more than one platypus 
  • Their fur is waterproof
  • The platypus is a carnivore
  • The platypus is a nocturnal animal
  • San Diego Zoo is the only zoo outside Australia with a platypus. They have two - a male and a female.

Image Source: Royal Australia Mint

Here are some questions for curious minds:
  • How does the platypus find food?
  • How do the babies get milk from their mother?
  • How many eggs does the mother platypus lay?
  • What is special about the spur on the male platypus?
  • How do they stay warm underwater?
  • Are there any dreaming stories about the platypus?
  • Do platypus have teeth?

Here are some sites to use with a class

There is an interesting link with the topic of the platypus to an early Australian book - The Story of Shy the Platypus (1944) by Leslie Rees. He was the winner of the very first CBCA book of the year with his book Karrawingi the Emu.

You could look for a copy of the poem about the platypus (Old man Platypus) by AB Banjo Paterson. Watch this film of 4 month old babies at Healesville sanctuary. Here are some books which are sure to be in most Australian Primary school libraries. I was quite surprised that there are so few:

Previous posts about the CBCA 2020 slogan Curious Creatures, Wild Minds

1 comment:

kinderbooks said...

Good, we have all of those platypus books!