From the blog

Guess What I Learned? Platypus and Echidna

Would you look at this fine fellow?

In my quest for info about [redacted to avoid spoilers], I wound up researching the platypus.

OMG, these guys are amazing. (And also, when I read about them, I kinda felt like they’re proof that humans are being punked. By who or what, I know not. But I’m pretty sure they’re laughing.)

A few fun facts:

  • The platypus comes equipped with its own state-of-the-art electromechanical system. The platypus’s bill is covered in sensors—electroreceptors that pickup the electrical signals of its prey. So when the platypus hunts underwater, it doesn’t use its eyes, ears, or nose. In fact, it closes its eyes and “feels out” the electrical signals of its prey using its bill!
  • Males have a poisonous claw/spur thingy on their ankle. The toxin is strong enough to kill small animals. It won’t kill people, but apparently it hurts so bad that death might seem like a pleasant idea.
  • They are one of only two mammals that lay eggs. The young then suck milk from special hairs, not nipples.

When I read “one of only two,” I, of course, had to find out what the other one was. That led me to reading about the echidna.

Also adorable, right?

And another Australia native.

Side note: Uh, Australia? What the hell? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to visit. One of my writer goals is to do a book tour around the country. But y’all have some epic weirdness down under. Which, okay, let’s face it, is right up my alley. I mean, I live in Austin, whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” so who am I to judge.

(But seriously Australia, what the hell???)

Back to the echidna, some fun facts:

  • It’s also called a spiny anteater. Despite the resemblance, it’s related to the hedgehog.
  • It also has electroreceptors.
  • You can tell the different kinds of echidna’s apart by their spines, what their nose looks like, and how many claws they have.
  • Short-beaked echidnas have a muscle layer that allows them to change the shape of their body so they can fit in tiny spaces.

I’m so sorry to report that long-beaked echidnas are critically endangered.

That’s it for today’s random research roundup. What do you think of these guys?

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