Contributor: Rebecca Highland. Lesson ID: 10375

Ever see an egglayingbreastfeedingduckbeaverotter? If you've seen a platypus, you have! Using video, paper bags, and the chance to make your own animal, learn about these odd but lovable creatures!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


This animal has a beak and webbed feet like a duck, a tail like a beaver, and fur like an otter. What is it?

  • Would you like to learn about the world's most confusing animal?

Well, if you answered the riddle by naming a platypus, then this lesson is for you!

19th Century engraving of a platypus

The duck-billed platypus has confused scientists for ages.

It has so many strange features, scientists have a hard time classifying it!

  • Is it a marsupial? A mammal?
  • And what is going on with those claws?

The platypus has webbed toes and a bill sort of like a duck. A platypus also has the body and fur of an otter with the tail of a beaver.

The platypus is categorized as a mammal and is only one out of two mammals ever in recorded history that lays eggs and breast feeds its young. These two "odd" animals are actually classified into a subcategory of mammals called monotremes.

The platypus is an all-terrain type of animal. This is helpful to hunt prey, as well as to escape predators! With venomous nails on each of the male platypus’ hind or back flippers, they are prepared to fight off most prey on land or in the water.

  1. Read (or have someone read to you) National Geographic Kids Duck-Billed Platypus or National Geographic Platypus to learn about more about these interesting animals from Australia. Also, check out the beautiful close-up images of the platypus!
  1. Watch Travel Australia. Platypus, Only in Australia below to find out more interesting facts about the platypus. Did you know it costs about $13,000 a year to feed a platypus in captivity?

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