The Five Monotremes: Yes, These are Real Animals

Monotreme–  an egg-laying mammal

I’m pretty sure everyone just thought of a specific one.  Yet, there are five species.  One is the platypus and the other four are types of echidna.  All are listed as critically endangered due to habitat loss and overhunting.  Bushfires, drought, and invasive predator species are other threats.  At least, that’s what some sites said.  Others said only two of the echidnas are critically endangered while the rest are fine.  Still with me?  I’m guessing at least one person isn’t sure what an echidna is, so I’ll explain.


  • Also called spiny anteaters, but not related to true anteaters.
  • There is the short-beaked echidna, Eastern long-beaked echidna, Western long-beaked echidna, and Sir David’s Echidna aka Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna.  (They don’t actually have beaks.)
  • When threatened, they will try to bury themselves with their spines aimed up.  If they can’t dig, they roll into a ball.
  • Males have spurs that secrete a milky substance during breeding season. (This is important for later.)
  • They have no teeth.
  • They can feel vibrations through their nose.
  • Both males and females have pouches.
  • No, they don’t punch people when angry.
  • Babies are called puggles.

Eastern Long-Beaked Echidna

Short-Beaked Echidna

Sir David’s Echidna

Western Long-Beaked Echidna

So, what about the platypus?

  • They are REAL animals that look like a combination of a duck, otter, and beaver.
  • They aren’t green or spies.
  • Males have venomous spurs on their hide legs.  Venom isn’t deadly, but it hurts.
  • Under ultraviolet light, their fur glows green and blue.
  • A platypus bill has tens of thousands of sensory receptors to allow them to sense things underwater.
  • Platypuses (and echidnas) don’t have stomachs, but gullets that put food directly into the intestine.
  • Since they don’t have teeth, they scoop up gravel with food to grinding it down.


Let’s get to the videos.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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23 Responses to The Five Monotremes: Yes, These are Real Animals

  1. Jennie says:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think they are darned cute! I think anteaters are also Echidna – the anteater is the mascot for the University of Californa at Irvine . Myrmecophaga, I think.


    • Echidnas are also called spiny anteaters, but they’re not related. They got the name because they eat termites and ants. Since they are monotremes, they are considered entirely different species. It’s just that most people put them together thanks to basic similarities.


  3. Loved this post, Charles. Learn something new every day. Thanks.


  4. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    See all the photos and four videos on Charles’ original blog post 😃


  5. Mike says:

    Incredible critters!


  6. V.M.Sang says:

    Amazing creatures. This world has incredible animals. What a pity we don’t value them as we should.


    • I think most people do kind of value them, but its the ones with influence over our world who don’t. Your average human would probably be amazed by these creatures and easily understand why they should be protected.


  7. They are cuties! Thanks for sharing, Charles! Have a good week ahead! xx Michael


  8. L. Marie says:

    Great post! Of course I think of Phineas and Ferb.


  9. And I believe they lay eggs.


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