Are platypuses really poisonous? Take the quiz!


When the first platypus was discovered in the 18th century, scientists were sure that this strange creature was just a clever hoax perpetrated by a bored, yet talented, taxidermist. Test your knowledge of the platypus with this quiz!

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Question 1 of 20

How does the platypus deliver poison to its victims?

through simple skin-to-skin contact
by biting the victim
through a spur on its hind leg

... The platypus delivers venom via an articulating spur on its hind leg.


Question 2 of 20

Which of these continents does the platypus call home?


... The platypus is native to eastern Australia.


Question 3 of 20

The scientific name for the platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, is derived from a Latin term meaning what?

water mammal
living fossil

... The scientific name for the platypus comes from a Latin term meaning "duck-like."


Question 4 of 20

How does the platypus track its prey?


... The platypus tracks its prey via electroreception, by sensing vibrations or muscular contractions.


Question 5 of 20

How long can a platypus live in captivity?

17 years
37 years
107 years

... A platypus can live up to 17 years in captivity, and those in the wild may live 10 years or more.


Question 6 of 20

How many hours does the platypus spend hunting each day?

1 hour
12 hours
24 hours

... The platypus spends about half of its day, or about 12 hours, hunting in order to capture enough food to stay alive.


Question 7 of 20

What's the largest animal that a platypus can kill using its venom?


... A platypus has enough venom to kill a dog, but is generally unable to kill humans.


Question 8 of 20

How does the platypus reproduce?

by giving birth to live young
by laying eggs
both by laying eggs and giving birth to live young

... Unlike most mammals, the platypus reproduces by laying eggs.


Question 9 of 20

How much does a platypus weigh on average?

3 pounds (1.4 kilograms)
15 pounds (6.8 kilograms)
45 pounds (20.4 kilograms)

... Despite its otter-like appearance, the platypus weighs just 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) on average, though it can weigh as much as 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms).


Question 10 of 20

How many different toxins can be found in platypus venom?


... Platypus venom contains 80 different toxins, and scientists have not yet developed an anti-venom for many of these poisons.


Question 11 of 20

Which of these characteristics does the platypus NOT share with other mammals?

birthing live young
producing milk
growing hair on its body

... While the platypus displays many mammal-like qualities, such as producing milk and growing hair, it lays eggs instead of delivering live young.


Question 12 of 20

What does the platypus eat?

fish, shrimp and larvae
other rodents
insects, plants and algae

... The platypus eats fish, shrimp and larvae from the bottom of a river, lake or stream.


Question 13 of 20

How does the platypus move on land?

slithers like a snake
walks on its knuckles
The platypus can't move on land.

... While on land, the platypus walks on its knuckles to protect the webbing between its toes.


Question 14 of 20

Where does the platypus live?

under water
in a dam
in the mud of a riverbank

... The platypus lives alone in its own private burrow dug out of the mud along a riverbank.


Question 15 of 20

How many babies are in the average platypus litter?


... A platypus produces an average litter of just two young, which are roughly the size of lima beans when they hatch.


Question 16 of 20

Where and when was the platypus used as a mascot during the Olympic Games?

Melbourne in 1956
Sydney in 2000
Brisbane in 1924

... The platypus was one of three mascots used to represent the 2000 Sydney Olympics.


Question 17 of 20

How does the platypus break down its food?

by passing it through multiple stomachs
by grinding it together with sand and gravel in its mouth
by chewing it with its sharp, pointed teeth

... The platypus must use sand and gravel to break down food because it has no teeth.


Question 18 of 20

Which platypus gender is more likely to attack a victim using venom?

Males and females are equally likely to strike.

... Only the male platypus produces venom.


Question 19 of 20

When is the platypus most likely to attack its victims?

in the winter
in the summer
in the fall

... The platypus is most likely to attack during mating season, which extends throughout the fall.


Question 20 of 20

The platypus is considered a monotreme, or egg-laying mammal. What other species falls within this category?

spiny anteater

... The platypus and the spiny anteater are the only known monotremes.


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