If you want to keep a pet platypus, you should know that they are friendly, affectionate, playful and amusing creatures. Providing them with a large living space, abundant water, and proper nutrition is crucial. Their diet should consist of nymphs, larvae, and crayfish similar to what wild platypuses eat. This is important because it helps them stay active and engaged in hunting activities that stimulate their brains and bodies. However, owning a pet platypus can be challenging as it requires a suitable environment for them to thrive, which is why they are rare pets. Additionally, it’s worth noting that keeping platypuses as pets is illegal in some parts of the world. In this article, we will guide you on how to determine if you can provide a home for a platypus while ensuring their safety and happiness.
The platypus, a unique Australian mammal with a duck bill, webbed feet, and waterproof fur, has gained popularity as an exotic pet. As people seek out more unconventional pets, many are curious about the feasibility of owning a platypus. To determine whether this is a good idea or not, let’s examine the care requirements for these animals.
About the Platypus
The platypus, a unique water-dwelling mammal, is native to Australia and distinguishes itself from other mammals by laying eggs instead of giving birth to live young. These creatures typically inhabit freshwater rivers and estuaries in Australia, but their survival is at risk due to their specific habitat requirements. Additionally, they were once hunted for their fur until the early 1900s, which contributed to a decrease in population.
Platypuses have distinctive physical characteristics such as webbed feet, a broad and flat tail, and a bill that aids in their underwater navigation. Additionally, their bodies are covered in fur. Moreover, female platypuses lay eggs while males can generate venom, making them even more exceptional.
It is understandable why some individuals may desire to have a platypus as a pet due to its distinct and extraordinary characteristics, but the question remains whether it is feasible to keep one.
Can You Have a Pet Platypus?
When considering whether or not to keep a platypus as a pet, two primary factors must be taken into account. The first is the animal’s needs and adaptability to living in a domestic environment, which we will examine more closely shortly. The second factor is the legality of owning an exotic pet in your region, as platypuses are considered wild or exotic animals in most countries and states, with laws governing their ownership varying by location.
When it comes to Platypus care, enclosures, and legality, it is typically necessary to obtain a license in the UK to keep a wild pet, while in Australia, where the Platypus originates, owning one as a pet is against the law; however, in the USA, this can vary depending on your state of residence, so it’s always best to check local regulations before proceeding. In general, importing and keeping a Platypus as a pet is not legal or advisable due to their intricate care requirements and potential danger.
Is a Pet Platypus Dangerous?
Platypus are typically peaceful creatures, but they can exhibit aggression and pose a threat if they feel threatened or distressed, which can be difficult to predict. Despite their small size (usually 15-24 inches in length), platypus can still inflict considerable harm when defending themselves.
Additionally, the platypus is among the limited number of venomous mammals, with males capable of producing venom during mating periods. The male’s venom is contained in a gland located on each thigh and linked to pointed spurs on each ankle, which can be utilized for self-defense by piercing the skin of an assailant and delivering the venom.
While the venom of a platypus may not cause death in humans, it can be excruciatingly painful and potentially fatal to other household pets. This danger, combined with the legal restrictions and intricate care requirements, is a significant factor that makes keeping platypuses as pets unsuitable.
Natural Platypus Environment
The Platypus, which is indigenous to Australia, inhabits freshwater environments and possesses physical characteristics that make it well-suited for aquatic life, such as a streamlined body, waterproof fur, and sturdy limbs. Despite feeding in water, these creatures reside in small burrows where they rest and dry off; while some have been observed swimming in saltwater, they must remain close to freshwater sources since this is where they obtain their food.
The platypus is a mammal that is active during dawn and dusk, making it crepuscular. It is challenging to keep a pet platypus due to its intricate natural habitat. Providing a safe freshwater source for the platypus to feed would be difficult in most homes as they are not spacious enough. While some people keep platypuses in captivity, it is tough to recreate their natural environment in domestic settings.
Caring for a Pet Platypus
Platypuses require ample room for exploration, both on land and in water bodies. In their natural habitat, they feed on freshwater, which is challenging to simulate in a home environment.
For platypus care, it is necessary to have a spacious indoor pool that includes areas where they can climb out of the water and bask, along with a heat lamp if required based on the ambient temperature.
Pet Platypus Food
A Platypus in the wild typically consumes bottom-dwelling invertebrates found in their river or water source, with occasional consumption of surface-dwelling prey such as frogs, insects, or fish, which may vary depending on their habitat and season.
Keeping Your Pet Platypus Healthy
It is challenging to find veterinarians who specialize in platypus care, especially in regions where owning a pet platypus is illegal. Consequently, if a domestic platypus falls ill, it faces a higher risk of complications. As a result, owners may not have access to reliable guidance and support regarding their pet’s well-being, which can ultimately lead to a considerably reduced lifespan for the animal.
Petting a platypus may not be the best choice for individuals, including those who desire to own an unusual animal. In numerous regions worldwide, it is against the law to possess a platypus as a pet. Moreover, even if it is permissible in your area, mimicking their natural habitat and diet can be extremely challenging. Additionally, owning a platypus can be hazardous since they are among the only 5 mammals that produce venom naturally.
If you are interested in owning an exotic pet, there are various alternatives to choose from. However, it is crucial to conduct extensive research on the specific requirements of the animal to guarantee that you can provide a suitable habitat for them. Additionally, it might be beneficial to investigate the source of your exotic pet since studies have demonstrated that trading exotic pets can have adverse effects on biodiversity and animal well-being. Nevertheless, if you are fascinated by platypus, here are some other pets that you could contemplate:
- Leatherback Bearded Dragon
- Pet Snail
- Skinks As Pets
- Mynah Bird
Taking care of a Platypus is not as simple as it may seem. It requires special enclosures, proper nutrition, and knowledge of the animal’s behavior. Additionally, there are legal considerations to keep in mind when owning a Platypus. To ensure your pet is well taken care of, it is important to understand the basics of Platypus care, enclosures, and the laws surrounding their ownership.
Are You Interested in a Pet Platypus?
Platypus is a unique and fascinating mammal that is native to Australia. Although there is an increasing fascination with keeping them as pets, it is not advisable in most regions of the world, and in many places, it is illegal. This is because taking care of a platypus can be quite complicated, and they are also venomous, making them a potentially hazardous pet. It would be better to consider other options such as reptiles or similar animals.
Readers Also Liked
- Do Ostriches Fly Quickly?
- What Do Wild Boars Eat?
- Distinguishing Between a Hobo Spider and a Wolf Spider
- What Eats Grass?
References and Resources
- Warren, W. (et al), ‘Genome Analysis of the Platypus Reveals Unique Signatures of Evolution’, Nature (2008)
- Grant, T. & Temple-Smith, P. ‘Conservation of the Platypus, Ornithorhynchus Anatinus: Threats and Challenges’, Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management (2003)
- Hawkins, M. & Battaglia, A. ‘Breeding Behavior of the Platypus (Ornithorhynchus Anatinus) in Captivity’, Australian Journal of Zoology (2009)
- Bino, G. (et al), ‘The Platypus: Evolutionary History, Biology, and an Uncertain Future’, Journal of Mammology (2019)
- Nuwer, R. ‘Many Exotic Pets Suffer or Die in Transit and Beyond – and the U.S. Government is Failing to Act’, National Geographic (2021)
- Whittington, C. & Belov, K. ‘Platypus Venom: A Review’, Australian Mammology (2007)
- McLachlan-Troup, T. (et al), ‘Diet and Dietary Selectivity of the Platypus in Relation to Season, Sex and Macroinvertebrae Assemblages’, Journal of Zoology (2010)
- Lockwood, J. (et al), ‘When Pets Become Pests: The Role of the Exotic Pet Trade in Producing Invasive Vertebrate Animals’, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2019)
- Bush, E. (et al), ‘Global Trade in Exotic Pets (2006 – 2012)’, Conservation Biology (2014)