The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), a semi-aquatic mammal native to eastern Australia, is one of only five extant species of monotremes, mammals that lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. An orphan in this wide wold, the platypus is the sole living representative of family Ornithorhynchidae. Indeed, there is no more marginalized mammal in the animal world: the platypus is an egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed venomous mammal with a lazy ovary.* Some say that the platypus’s unusual characteristics are evidence of God’s sense of Humor, but the author of B.V. humbly submits that they must make it hard to find a date.**
The platypus has much in common with its neighbor the Leafy Sea dragon; while sensitive to pollution and avidly hunted until the early 20th century, the platypus is now protected by Australian law. Though it was hunted out of existance in South Australia, and captive breeding programs have proven largely unsuccessful, the Platypus is not currently considered endangered.
*the male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot capable of delivering an extremely painful venom, the female’s right ovary does not function.
** See the disclaimer for Kevin Smith’s film Dogma:
Remember: Even God has a sense of humor. Just look at the Platypus. Thank you and enjoy the show.
P.S. We sincerely apologize to all Platypus enthusiasts out there who are offended by that thoughtless comment about Platypi. We at View Askew respect the noble Platypus, and it is not our intention to slight these stupid creatures in any way. Thank you again and enjoy the show.
** for a list of venemous mammals, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_venomous_mammals