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Sample PowerPoint Presentation The Unusual Platypus:Common but Vulnerable A PowerPoint Presentation By: Mrs. Perry
What EXACTLY is a Platypus? The platypus (also commonly referred to as a duck billed platypus) has several reptilian characteristics which includes the ability to lay eggs. Even though the platypus has some reptile characteristics, it is overall much more mammalian than reptilian. The platypus is a Monotreme. It is one of the most primitive mammals, but it is a mammal. Even though it lays eggs it produces milk, is warm-blooded, and has fur. It is one of the world’s most unusual mammals.
Physical Description Platypuses: • are about the size of a household cat and weigh about 1 – 2 kilograms. • are completely covered with thick, waterproof hair except for their bills and webbed feet. • have a sensitive, leathery blue-gray bill that can detect electrical currents. • have four legs with webbed feet to help them swim. • do not have teeth, instead they have grinding plates to chew food. • have a wide, beaver like tail that helps them swim.
Where Would You Find A Platypus? Australia • The platypus is found in all freshwater creeks, rivers, and lakes of eastern Australia. They like long, slow flowing, shallow pools with solid angled banks, with plenty of plants, and a good quantity of water-dwelling invertebrates to eat. • The platypus is protected by law throughout Australia. Even though it is common in Australia, it is considered vulnerable due to the continuing loss of its natural habitat due to damming, drainage, and pollution. The population of platypuses has declined in areas close to Melbourne due to human population growth. Platypus Habitat
Status of the Platypus • The platypus is officially classified as "Common but Vulnerable" in Australia. As a species, it is not currently considered to be endangered. • However, platypus populations are believed to have declined or disappeared in many catchments, particularly in urban and agricultural landscapes. In most cases, the specific underlying reasons for the reduction in numbers remain unknown. The growth of cities, like Sidney (the capital of Australia) could lead to the decline of the platypus.
Unusual Facts … • The platypus is the world's only venomous furred animal. All platypuses are born with spurs on their hind feet. The spurs on the female fall off after the first year. The spurs on males become venomous during the breeding season. • The female platypus lays eggs. When the babies hatch, she produces milk that she secretes right through her skin to feed them.
More Unusual Facts … • When European scientists first saw a platypus pelt, they thought it was a hoax (a fake)! They didn’t think such an animal could exist! One scientist even took a scissors to the pelt expecting to find stitches where the bill was attached to the rest of the body! • The platypus’s closest relatives are the two types of echidna (spiny anteater) that also live in Australia. They are the only three egg laying mammals alive.
What I Think… • I feel that the platypus is a unique animal in our world and that it is an important one to learn about. It is an animal that can teach us so much about how animals evolved by studying it’s special traits. What other animal on this planet has traits of reptiles, birds, and mammals? Even though the platypus is not yet endangered, human encroachment is affecting its habitat. Australia has taken steps to protect the platypus and hopefully this will help preserve this creature in the future.
Bibliography • Agnew, George. “Platypus” 12 January 2006 <http://www.platypus.org.uk/> • Grant, Tom. The Unusual Platypus. Sydney: University of New South Wales, 1989. • The Australian Platypus Conservatory. “The Platypus, A Very Special Australian.” 14 January 2006 <http://www.platypus.asn.au/> • The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum. “Platypus.” 14 January 2006 <http://internt.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/museum/tring/highlights/detail.dsml?beginIndex=7&listPageURL=index.dsml%3F> • “Platypus.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 1995.