Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Image location: Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Class: Mammalia (Linnaeus, 1758) — mammals
Order: Monotremata (Bonaparte, 1837) — monotremes (egg-laying mammals)
Family: Ornithorhynchidae (Gray, 1825 sensu Burnett, 1830)
Genus: Ornithorhynchus (Blumenbach, 1800)
Species: Ornithorhynchus anatinus (Shaw, 1799) – platypus, duck-billed platypus
Head-body Length (tip of bill to tip of tail)
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Populations in the Wild
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Age at Weaning
Typical Life Expectancy
For detailed information, click the tabs at the top of this page.
© 2018-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor updates to Population & Conservation, Cultural History, Taxonomy Jul 2019.
How to cite: Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) Fact Sheet. c2018-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ platypus.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Josh Griffiths for providing expert content review of this fact sheet.
Senior Wildlife Ecologist Josh Griffiths leads cesar australia’s platypus ecology research team, including field studies to monitor platypus abundance, distribution, and population recovery, as well as ecological genetics. He is also deeply involved in cesar australia’s community engagement initiatives, such as platypusSPOT, a citizen science project.
Mr. Griffiths has extensive experience studying platypuses in the wild, including conducting field surveys of platypus abundance and health. He also works with government representatives, industry leaders, and community members to develop management plans and conservation programs related to the platypus.
Mr. Griffiths has worked in diverse landscapes in arid South Australia, the highlands of Victoria, and Tasmania’s river systems. Mr. Griffiths earned his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology the University of Adelaide. See his detailed profile on cesar australia’s website.
Thank you to Dr. Jessica Thomas for providing expert content review of the Managed Care section of this fact sheet.
Senior Keeper Dr. Jess Thomas oversees the platypus husbandry program at Healesville Sanctuary, a world-renowned facility in platypus breeding, care, and research. In 2018, Dr. Thomas earned a PhD from the University of Melbourne, where she studied platypus breeding behavior. She also investigated maternal care and juvenile dispersal in the platypus.
As a keeper, Dr. Thomas oversees Healesville’s platypus managed care programs, including behavior, diet, nutrition, health, and exhibit environment. She has conducted research on behavioral enrichment for platypuses to enhance animal welfare in zoos. Dr. Thomas is the platypus studbook keeper as well as a species coordinator for the Zoo Aquarium Association.
Thank you to Dr. Thomas H. Rich, Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Museums Victoria, for reviewing the Evolutionary History section (in Taxonomy & History) of this fact sheet. Dr. Rich has extensive research experience with extinct monotremes and other extinct mammals. See his Museums Victoria curriculum vitae and publications list to learn more.