Does a platypus lay eggs?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the search query: “Does a platypus lay eggs?” Also, we’ll explore what a platypus is, what makes it different from other animals, where platypuses are distributed, and what is their role in the environment. 

Does a platypus lay eggs?

Yes, a female platypus can lay eggs. However, she can only lay up to 2 soft-shelled eggs per brood, and both of her young will nurse once they’ve hatched.

Like other animals that lay eggs, platypus manifest nesting behavior, which means that they’ll excavate a burrow near a creek or stream, in which they’ll lay eggs. 

Platypuses are one of only five species throughout the world that are mammals and lay eggs. They belong to a mammalian order known as monotremes. They are primitive and retain a few traits of other vertebrates that are not mammals. 

Below, we’ll describe a few more definitive traits of both platypuses, and other mammals that are monotremes. 

What makes a platypus different from other animals?

A platypus differs from other mammals in the sense that it lays eggs, it has a beak and a cloaca. Along with other monotremes, it manifests morphological traits that are more commonly found in other groups of vertebrates, such as reptiles and birds. 

At a first glance, our readers may liken platypuses to hybrids, as they have the body and tail shaped like a beaver’s, and a long beak reminiscent of a mallard’s. Fittingly, there are many traits that distinguish them from other animals. 

Unlike other mammals, monotremes do not gestate. This means that their bodies don’t carry the babies to term, but rather, they remain vigilant over eggs while their embryos develop into new individuals. 

Also, female mammals have three separate orifices for different functions. For example, they have an orifice for urinating, defecating, and a reproductive tract. In the case of platypuses, all these functions converge in one orifice, known as the cloaca. 

Along with echidnas, platypuses are one of only a handful of species that have beaks instead of articulated mouths with a jawbone with muscles and covered in skin. A beak is made of a bone structure and covered in keratin–the same material a person’s hair and fingernails are made of. 

Additionally, platypuses are venomous. Male platypuses present spurs above their feet, both of which are connected to a venom-producing gland that is located in each thigh. Biologists speculate that these spurs are a means of both defense and offense against other males, with whom they compete for breeding rights. 

Where are platypuses distributed?

Platypuses are endemic to eastern Australia and the island of Tasmania 

When they were first discovered, posed a complex riddle for naturalists, who had difficulty organizing them into a taxonomical group. 

As platypuses are of a semi-aquatic nature, they make their niches close (if not within) freshwater streams, lakes, and reservoirs. They have a burrowing habit and they dig their dwellings slightly above the river’s level. 

While most often they’re solitary animals, they have been known to share their environs with other individuals of their species, and they spend half of their waking hours swimming and foraging the water that they live near for food. 

What is the role of platypuses in the environment? 

In their environments, platypuses are intermediate consumers. This means that they help populations of animals that they prey on in check, while in turn, they provide nourishment for larger animals that prey on them. 

Platypuses can help regulate the populations of aquatic arthropods (insects and crustaceans), and annelids (worms), and they are a source of food for animals such as snakes, crocodiles, birds of prey, and other larger carnivores. 

While platypuses are not endangered, their limited range and unique nature both highlight the importance of conservation efforts in the areas where they are distributed. 

Conservation efforts have a wider outreach than just one particular region, and by generating buzz, platypuses can help generate discussion regarding the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with natural resources and habitats.


In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the search query: “Does a platypus lay eggs?” Also, we’ve explored what a platypus is, what makes it different from other animals, where platypuses are distributed, and what is their role in the environment.