not drowning waving

Kim Gamble

Kim Gamble
July 13
dad, children's books, gardens, the ocean, coffee with a friend.


Kim Gamble's Links

New list
No links in this category.
previous posts
MAY 22, 2012 2:39AM

The Platypus.

Rate: 36 Flag


By now I hope you'll all have your heads around the idea of a mammal that lays eggs. This arrangement is called a monotreme ( one treme ).

There are only two monotremes on the planet, so there's no need for "I'm never going to remember all this !"

One is the Platypus ; the other, the Echidna. 

The Platypus has fur ; the Echidna has spikes.

Both lay eggs, which sets them apart from other mammals.

The Platypus grows to about 64 feet in length, and eats cars with people inside them. The Echidna on the other hand grows to about 18 inches, eats ants, and is a shy nocturnal affair that rolls itself into a ball at the slightest provocation. 

The difference in size alone makes it easy to distinguish between the two. My mate Bruce once shot a Tourist Bus, thinking it was a Platypus, and then his vacuum cleaner, thinking it was an Echidna, even though it hadn't eaten any ants, but Bruce is insane.

If there's anything else you need to know before travelling Downunder, give me a bell. 


pics :

echidna :

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
the whole duck bill on a fuzzy body kind of weirds me out
No getting around it, Julie. It's weird. I didn't ask to be born here.
No collateral damage, I take it, when crazy Roger shot the tour bus. I wonder if anyone has attempted to talk Roger out of the whole firearms thing. Still, cannot really blame him in this case. If a Platypus is nearly 20 meters long and eats cars, it would be best to shoot first and ask questions later.

As a matter of fact, I do have a further question on the subject at hand. I understand the male Platypus produces a venom that he can inject, for lack of a better term, with his spurs. Was wondering if you know any humans who have had the experience of that.
Thank you, Kim, for this edifying dissertation on the monotremata, they being the only mammals aside from fruitbats, dingos, and possums which inhabit your continent if one sets aside (as one must) the notorious Tasmanian tiger and the pre-Pleistocene thecodontia which once roamed freedly in Arnhem Land or whatever it is you call that useless area west of Sydney and north of Melbourne.
In his defence, Roger/Bruce was on the side of the highway when the thing was coming at him with both lights blazing.
He managed to blow out a door handle before the situation escalated.
He's a hopeless bastard with a rifle & I hope they relieve him of it soon.

Re. the platypus venom yes : a friend called Bill Dowling was up to his waist in a creek, holding one of them up for the camera when it unloaded in his arm.
"Lassitude," is how he described what followed. Not fatal, but a well-earned rest. He has a kind of faraway smile when he talks about it.
I once asked Natalie if she'd ever seen an echidna. She'd grown up in a little coastal town which had nothing but bush behind it and she used to ride motorbikes and so forth out there, so it turns out she had actually seen echidnas. I asked what they did and she said, "Well, they just kinda walk around." It seemed somehow anticlimactic.
Nanatehay you refer to the place we affectionately dub The Outback.
It happens I know not a little about it.
You forgot to mention the Kangaroo, the Wombat, Numbat, Placenta, Sheep, or the Native Hereford Cow. Or Emu.
Though technically the Emu is no more a mammal than the Wobbegong. Even though the Wobbegong has been known to come ashore & mate with the odd Bandicoot.
What you need to keep in mind, during your foray this way, is that the slightest nip of the Funnel Web will melt all of your internal organs inside half an hour. Far be it for me to discourage tourism ; just that so few brochures mention it.
Natalie obviously never hit one with a stick.
Wasn't Australia that area on maps labeled "Here there be dragons"? I have heard one was elected Prime Minister.
Oh, bad platypus jab, Jan. You refer to the light of our lives, young Julia G.
Shame on you.
I remember a talk on platypus research using electric currents in a swimming pool. Too bad the bus eating mo-fo wasn't there to smack the researchers into the pool using one of those spiny things.
I remember that too, Phyllis.
They put a hair-dryer in the pool.
ALL of those researchers were bitten by Funnel Web spiders, afterwards.
I always considered the platypus to be the perfect example of Australian life:

• They are bottom feeders.

• When they die, usually a big bill is left.

• They males have something toxic going on with their feet.

• The brave, hardworking women folk are left all alone to give birth after being sealed in a cave while the males visit watering hole and talk platypusian shit.

• They eat buses, like Margaret's HUGE, blindingly pale ass and talk funny.

See? Just like everyone else in Australand.
You guys have the very best critters, that is for certain. One of my all time favorite Sir David Attenborough scenes is him in the dark filmed in infrared, crawling along in the sand behind a kiwi with his nose nearly up its ass, while he stage whispers about its feeding habits. I don't know who I loved more....Sir David, or the kiwi who seemed oblivious to the nose and the whispering.

Did you draw that platypus? Maybe do an echidna too, for the extreme linework opp, an afternoon of Big Drawing Fun.

Speaking of nature and drawing and weird critters, I have been glued to this great blue heron nest for a month, screen-grabbing and drawing the chicks. I sense that you might enjoy it too:
I've heard both critters are rather lonely among their colleagues in the animal kingdom.
Must be noisy, I mean...

oh, and try to avoid saying Platypussy... just try.
I hope I get to see Australia for myself one day. Weird and wonderful. ~r
I have never seen this up close and personal, but I am now armed with proper knowledge, thanks to your careful instruction! Sweet!
If the people are half as interesting as the animals, it's got to be a good place.
The diversity of the animal world continues to fill me with wonder.
Like a weird evolutionary thing, the bill. Or did God have some left over bills and slapped one on a fuzzy creature, chuckling madly. Late in day 6 no doubt and right after creating wine.
Kim, it is a weird world we're living in, no question.
In your part of the world there is a hairy duck which travels on four feet and is non-aquatic.
In my part of the world, we have a fascist state which calls itself a democracy.
Go figure.

P.S. Please tell your friend Bruce he may come here at any time and do away with fascism anytime he pleases. Just please ask that he leave his gun behind.......
I'd visit downunder but now I'll think twice before getting on a tour bus. At least in Bruce's neighborhood. (She smiled to herself). Thanks for the heads up!
I got to think of some questions Kim.
I do remember some interesting Aussie Farmer videos...
Oh yeah, Kate posted those..
One of my volunteer activities is that of participating a a group of retirees that acts out stories for elementary school students. We go by the name of Story Time Players. One of the stories we perform is "Wombat Stew," and an echidna is one of the critters featured in it. Sometimes I get to be the echidna--thanks to you, Kim, I now have a much clearer perspective on how to play that role. Oscar?
Well, isn't this the Mutual of Omaha of OS ( an arcane program I was quite fascinated with featuring strange animals growing up, Sunday nights).
The names of your animals Down Under are as interesting as the lingo and vernacular of the mates there.
This is what happens when, eons ago, a whole continent slides away from other large land masses and the creatures there are allowed to evolve all willy-nilly. Tectonic.

They are so cute! No more shooting at them.
64 foot platypii????
This is just the beginning of your "see if the Americans are dumb enough to believe this" posts secretly designed to scare North Americans away from moving to Australia when the Yellowstone Caldera blows, isn't it?
You all just want to keep your fine resources for yourselves...
You've even been hired by Ms. Julia Prime Minister Lady, haven't you?
Crazy-glue-ing spikes on your poor rabbits...
duck bills on your poor genetically-modified moles...
Next will be a post gushing over the exciting new program for all American visitors who receive their own personal Australian pet: your choice! Brown Snake, Taipan, or a cute Pet Stone Fish!
he almost looks like he the platypus was orn with s hoe horn for a mouth.
I did just find "Hey Diddle Diddle" yesterday though, if you'd like a normal comment from me about normal things (yes there *are* some), like cows and moons, spoons....
@rita: I remember that show! Wasn't it called "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom"? It had an old guy and a younger guy who was kind of nice looking, as I recall. The old guy was a bit geeky but he knew what he was talking about in the show. I think they tried to revive that show a while back, but it never flew....
Well, you learn something new every day. Thanks Kim.
Amy it's uncanny the similarities you point to, between monotremes & Sicilians. I agree, Sicilian men should be ashamed of themselves.
Regarding Margaret's nether regions I can't really comment, other than to suggest a giant muumuu would probably work wonders.
Or an Emuumuu. But Australians don't talk funny. Meryl Streep talked funny, in Evil Angels.

greenheron I'm a great fan of Sir David too ~ his enthusiasm for voles & kiwis & things is wonderful. His whispering gets on my nerves a bit though. Like voles can hear.
No I didn't draw the platypus, & my extreme linework days, exciting as they were, are probably over. An afternoon of Big Drawing Fun though ... would there be hot milk & cookies ?
You're such a nerd, greenheron. But I'll watch the program, & I'll love it, I know. Thankyou.
Spellcheck doesn't like greenheron, know, or thankyou.

Hi Matt. It's true, what you've heard. Other animals shun them because they're unique. When it comes to affirmations, I think they wrote the book.

Interrobang, wherever you go down here there's a fair bit of screaming, but you get used to it.
"Platypussy" is irresistible, isn't it ?

Joan I hope you do too. It's definitely worth a day in a plane, & we speak English, & there are hospitals everywhere, just in case.

Hi Sheila. Armed with the right information and ant-venine, Australia can be a rewarding stop-over, on your way to Antarctica.
Many people ~ most people ~ are surprised.

jlsathre unfortunately, you've put your finger on the basic problem.
I had to research these outrageous claims, and found them all to be true.
It is one of the most bizarre creatures ever brought to my attention. What the hell is it?
What funloving God invented it? I would shake his hand, this God.
Not “intelligent design”, rather “ comedic design”…
George Shaw, who produced the first description of the animal in the Naturalist's Miscellany in 1799, stated that it was impossible not to entertain doubts as to its genuine nature, and Robert Knox believed it might have been produced by some Asian taxidermist.[5] It was thought that somebody had sewn a duck's beak onto the body of a beaver-like animal. Shaw even took a pair of scissors to the dried skin to check for stitches.[6]

I see it has something called “a sense of electroreception: they locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions.”

Also it is venomous.

It has fur, and a beak.

BTW, Kim, if this is as Just Thinking thinks, about your being worried we Yanks will head for your territory, don't be worried. Most of us cannot afford the plane fare anymore anyway, and those who can are afraid of your many very evil killer arachnids.
A close friend has shared with me her feelings on your country's insects, crocs, etc.: "Everything in Australia is trying to kill you! They have spiders there which hide in places you wouldn't think they could and which can kill you pretty quickly."
Seriously. Y'all have some nasty beasties Downunder.........
I find the platypus a curious but beautiful fellow. The echidna, on the other hand, can go along it's merry way.
I think the platypus is cute. I need a vacuum cleaner, maybe he'd be able to clean my house?
Whaddaya know? They are aquatic!!!
Wow...they really are weird.....
I want to meet your friend Bruce and shoot vacuum cleaners.
I suppose you have real estate advice as well? ;-)
antivenin. You'd think I'd know how to spell antivenin.

Hi Miguela. Also we've got drop-bears & cassowaries. You haven't lived 'til you've been chased through a snake-infested jungle by an angry cassowary.

asia I don't know what God was drinking down here but it's pretty funny some of the things he did. Like, I know : a jellyfish with enough poison to wipe out an army, & I'll put heaps of them along the beaches when it gets hot !

Poor Woman, here's the deal : you can keep your fascism, & we'll keep our cuddly neurotoxic critters :-)

nilesite the Platypus ( & the Emu ) only attack Japanese Tour buses ~ we think it's the sushi. Americans who don't wear loud Hawaiian shirts are generally pretty safe.

mission I don't remember Little Kate's Farmer videos, but living up in the tropics she'd know a lot more about what's what. Down here all we need to worry about are the spiders & snakes & things in the water.

John, Oscar for sure ! Just roll into a little ball as soon as someone looks at you ; & don't walk, like nan's friend Nat said. Echidnas waddle. I'm not surprised you do a good thing like that, either. I'd love to hear more about Wombat Stew.

Rita, arcane ? This is arcane ? We used to watch Annette Funicello in mouse ears every Sunday night go M - I - C - ( See ya real soon ! ) ...
That was arcane.
Like, "Ward, you were a little hard on the Beaver last night," arcane.

Hi Linnnn. Gondwanaland has its advantages. We are a long way away from Mitt Romney, for example.

mornin' JT. You're right. You're onto this dastardly plot, to lure unsuspecting Americans to our shores & turn them into fertiliser. Damn. Americans make such good fertiliser. Chinese just seem to leave the soil feeling unsatisfied, somehow.

HUGGS Linda. It does look like a shoehorn !
There's definitely something wrong with your keyboard. Loved your Public Sex post ~ especially the photos ~ as usual ;-)

JT, I'll go look.

trilogy it's my pleasure. Thanks for coming by.
Isn't it like 3 am your way?
Can't sleep?
Wanna' borrow my stuffed koala who will sing you to sleep with Waltzing Matilda?
Kim, how insulting!

Sicilians do NOT have similarities to all monotremes!

The poisonous, chavinistic platypus, with it hate of economical public transportation, is DEFINITELY Astralian-ish-y.

I personally don't mind certain Sicilian women being compared to the echidna, however.

We both have lustrous dark locks (the echidna uses WAY too much hairspray, however); web both are cute; we both care for our children well and give them cute names (did you know that echidna babies are called puggles?) and we both have been known to eat aunts. *ahem*
Quite frankly, I'd rather we swapped, except that you seem such a decent fellow. And I wouldn't wish this country's weird politics on anyone who can paint as well as you can anyway......
Sorry but I can't get past your chummy little phrase, "my mate Bruce." I just can't. The images... Do you have to talk that way around here? Because no one else talks that way.

James says:.... they locate their prey in part by detecting electric fields generated by muscular contractions.”

Also it is venomous.

It has fur, and a beak.

Hahahahahahahahaha! James, you never mentioned you've met Amy in person!
Poor Woman wants to swap - mates? Have you even seen Bruce, PW? Don't be so hasty.
i think the Platypus is cute... but then i always have had a soft spot for odd ducks
Oh Margaret / Maggie / Mad Dog... Did you really need to go THERE??? How uncouth of you, my dear.

Nevertheless, just to show that I'm the better (if not BIGGER person), I wanted to let you know that they have recently domesticated a distant relative of the platypus and it is now for sale. They call it the platydick.

Now I realize that they are quite expensive, but I figured you'd want to know because you are VERY used to pay for any other "dick" you get. *ahem*
James, thank you for the corroboration ( orig. Latin 'corroborere' - strengthen )
( What's weird is that Australian aboriginals have a word 'corroboree,' which means meeting place or dance,& has been in use since well before Latin was ever dreamed of. )
Thanks also for adding to the general body of knowledge about this remarkable beast.
I didn't know that, about electroreception, BUT ... 26 & a half years ago, in a stream up north, my then 7 months pregnant wife was visited by a platypus which swum around her, & along her arm in spirals, & allowed itself to be held for a moment.
Electroreception would explain that, given the beating of the baby's heart under the water.
I should add : that platypus wasn't fully grown ~ it was only about a foot long.

Poor Woman, your friend is right. Everything in Australia is trying to kill you ~ why Cathy Freeman is one of the fastest female runners on earth, & why Ian Thorpe was the fastest swimmer, until a White Pointer caught up with him.

Cathy, you caught their very essence. The platypus is very curious, & the echidna merry, if a bit timid. They make great characters for children' books.

Erica the echidnas make great vacuum cleaners ~ their little snouts can reach all those difficult spots behind the fridge. & they run on ants.

PW, aquatic like a beaver, but no relation.

Razzle, you'd love Bruce. You & Bruce would get along like a house on fire.

Pandora Bach ( like that's your real name ) I have an excellent Harbour Bridge you might be interested in ...

It was 3 am, JT. Then I went back to sleep. I find the idea of a stuffed koala singing Tom Waits songs a bit disturbing, actually, but thanks.

Amy, no I didn't know baby echidnas are called puggles. I think you just made that up.
Eating aunts ~ I blush.
Then I remember a wonderful Roald Dahl story about an Aunteater.

Thanks PW.

Margaret Bruce is a fine specimen ~ he inspired Helen Reddy ~ you know that song ? " I am strong, I am invincible, I am Bloke" ?

lorianne me too :-)
That is just too cool for school. (I never went anyway)
Thank goodness in the comments you mentioned Bandicoots! I was afraid you would leave my little friends out. ;-)
( In my best Muriel's Wedding voice ) Amy you're awful !

Hi scanner, me neither. Too much going on down the road.
Which reminds me, the first thing I read today was yours about Air.
Couldn't find a comment, but I will. Beautiful poem.

Midwest Muse, it wouldn't be the same without bandicoots ;-)
Tom Waits' sheep-shearin' great-grandpappy maybe...
You and the echidna can cuddle right up then.
: )
By now I hope YOU have YOUR head around the idea that Australia isn't the only place on the planet that can claim strange creatures that defy logic.

The platypus has nothing on the synthetically clad male mammal. This arrangement is called a neoprene ( new prene ) man.

Wow! (imagine little upward pointing arrow) That's a mess if ever there was one. But cram it in your address bar anyway; it's well worth a look/see.
I don't know which is more of a worry, Margaret : An elderly man in a rubber suit, or that you found a picture of one.
Well, I did look up a platypus to see what it ate...Grubs and worms and such since it uses that soft bill to nudge them out of the mud and scoop them up...
So I guess the bill has a good use. And the fur does remind me of a beaver. And even though they lay soft eggs, they still nurse their young on milk...A weird critter, indeed Kim...
omg, you're right, I am a total nerd about this stuff! If I lived in the UK, I would be a celebrity stalker of Sir David for sure. Him and Andy Goldsworthy. Andy, will you autograph my mossy stone?

You're great at line! We should have an Extreme Linework Smackdown here at OS and post the results. Subject matter to be suggested by the judges, like "plate of spaghetti" or "nest in grass".

Speaking of nests, the heron chicks are clacking and squawking, which means Dad is feeding them an urped fish breakfast....gotta go click over and watch!
That elderly man in a rubber suit happens to be my Grampa.
Mission, thanks for that. Another oddity is that platypus have no nipples ~ the milk is secreted through the skin, and the baby suckles the fur !

greenheron I'm loving that site
( )
I think the Extreme Line Smackdown is a great idea. I see you started already ~ I did one of you as Pirate ~ you from memory : teeth & hair ;-)
Also seriously pissed off because Someone used your pencil & put it back without sharpening it.

Margaret, that explains much.
Awwww... Kim's meeting Margaret's family. Ain't that sweet!

When are you two critters planning to wed?

(who are the best man/brides maid gonna be? The blind outback guano bat and the tasmanian devil?)
how in the world did i miss this? i can't imagine what importantish things i was doing instead of reading about duckbills and the australian version of a hedgehog with a beak, greenie getting excited about birds barfing breakfast and the 10-rounder between amy and margaret. maybe i was in the tub? no, don't say it.

what is, by the way, a rubber waffle? and please don't answer if it has anything to do with nippleless sucking.
Damn, this is good useful information and even better advice. Thanks, mate!
I just noticed JT said platypii! Ha!
Just when I most need a smile, I come here and find a Wonderland! So many wonders ... where you are ... land of wonder ... land of awe ...
Somehow shy and nocturnal sounds easier to meet than ... 64 feet long ... Night here seems upside down so lovely to come and find a smile ...
I was around seven when I found out about platypus(es?). My mother had bought a wonderful encyclopaedia to one of those door-to-door salesmen (those went extinct).
Years and years later I wrote a children's story about a rabbit and a platypus. It is still unpublished, since I can't illustrate to save my life.
I saw a platypus once - in a small pond in Tasmania in very late afternoon. It was small. They're supposed to be quite shy so we felt lucky and were very still and quiet.
I've only now noticed these comments ~ thankyou, & much appreciated !
vanessa you could always show this illustrator your story, if you needed an illustrator's opinion, that is :-)
consonants&vowels you were indeed lucky.
Platypus are becoming scarce on the mainland.
Hope you enjoyed your time downunder.