In the Swim

Shaped like a furry football, the platypus is a skilled swimmer. Its shape helps it dive deep and slice through the water quickly. Its front webbed feet help the platypus paddle. The back feet are used, with the tail, for steering and braking.

The platypus may feel most at home in the water.

This platypus's big webbed feet help propel it through the water.

The platypus’s feet help it both on land and in water. 

front foot

Transformer Toes

The front feet of a platypus are built for both water and land. In the water, extra skin between the toes creates a paddle. On land, the webbing is pulled back to use the claws to dig.

The back feet are remarkable, too. In water, platypuses use their back webbed feet to steer and brake. On land, they use their back claws for grooming. Male platypuses have another surprise in their back feet. Hollow spikes are loaded with a venom for when they fight others.

Male platypuses have hollow spikes on their back heels. They are filled with venom.

The platypus’s tail helps it swim. It also stores fat.

Tale of a Tail

Though it looks like a beaver tail, a platypus tail is not used for paddling. The tail is a storage tank. It can hold almost half of the animal’s body fat.

Now See This

A platypus’s eyes have lots of cells to take in color. Yet, it does not use its eyes for hunting. Instead, these cells are used on land to spot predators.

When it dives deep, a platypus closes its eyes. Since the fur on its eyelids is light, it looks like its eyes glow in the dark!

These adaptations have been shaped over millions of years. This mishmash mammal is a survival success story!

Lighter fur on its eyelids make this platypus’s eyes seem to glow when closed underwater.