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The platypus is one of the most unusual animals in nature, and one Stephen Maturin wants to find as the Nutmeg of Consolation docks in Sydney Harbor in Australia. The scientific name of the creature is Ornithorhynchus anatinus ('Bird-beak, duck-like').



The platypus can be found in freshwater rivers and streams along the coast of eastern Australia. Under normal circumstances the platypus will dig a simple burrow near water with two entrances usually hidden by tree roots. A second type of burrow is used by the female for nesting purposes. This nursery burrow will have an entrance above the flood point of the river and the nest is usually made of leaves and twigs.


The diet for a platypus is a diverse one including insect larvae, worms, shrimps, trout and frog eggs, and mature insect species. Because of its bill, the platypus does not have teeth to chew its food and instead it stores food in check pouches behind the bill and grinds food up using a rough padded area in the bill.


Platypuses reach sexual maturity in two years; this is the age the male starts to produce sperm and the female eggs. When mating, the male will become aggressive using a venomous spur to deter other males. While the venom may not be deadly for humans, dogs have been found killed by the poison in the platypus spur.

In the Canon

The Nutmeg of Consolation -- Stephen Maturin and Nathaniel Martin hunt for a platypus


The Complete Platypus retrieved Aug 2005

The Duck-billed Platypus retrieved Aug 2005

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