Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Duck-Billed Platypus: A Venomous Creature

You likely know the duck-billed platypus as a goofy-looking, harmless creature, known largely for being one of the very few mammals to lay eggs. Turns out, the platypus is actually a dangerous, venomous creature.

Sure, the duck-billed platypus looks mild enough...

Male platypus' have a spur in their hind limbs that can deliver a debilitating sting that cause immediate and excruciating pain in its victims, leaving them incapacitated for weeks, sometimes even months. These stings aren't lethal to humans (only small animals) but it is certainly not pleasant!

... until it pokes you with this!
Why does the platypus, a typically docile creature with few natural predators, need venom? Scientist theorize that the venom is used to fight off other males during mating season.

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