Hello! It’s time for Fact Friday with Screenhog. I am Screenhog, and today we’re talking about the world’s most famous monotreme. (What’s a monotreme? We’ll get to that in a second.)
In 1798, a shipment from Australia arrived at the British Museum. It contained a number of stuffed specimens of a strange looking creature that had the bill of a duck, the body of a large mole, the webbed feet of an otter, and the tail of a beaver. The British Museum brushed it off as a fake, and not without reason. They were getting tired of receiving evidence of fake “mermaids”, which were actually monkeys whose bodies were cleverly attached to fish tails by taxidermists. Then, a few years later, they received a much better preserved specimen, and soon after that, a live one. The British Museum was forced to admit that the duck-billed platypus really did exist.
As it turns out, the platypus was even stranger than they thought. The male platypus turned out to have poisonous spurs on the back of its hind feet that it used to defend itself, and the female platypus could do something unheard of at the time. Despite being a mammal, the platypus lays eggs. Egg-laying mammals are called monotremes, and there are only two types of monotremes known to be alive today. One is the platypus of course, and the other is called the echidna, who is most known for his spiky fur and his long-standing rivalry with Sonic the Hedgehog.
This has been Fact Friday. Screenhog out.