Science Friday (3/3): The male platypus has both venomous spurs on its ankles, and retractable webbing on its front claws.
Ah, platypus venom...my best friend and I used to joke about getting our hands on some to assist our plot to take over the world. We're not sure how it would help...but it wouldn't hurt either.
He's got more than just mad skill! He's got venomous spurs on his ankles and retractable webbing on, um.... on his... this doesn't sound right.
Both male and female platypuses have retractable webbing on their front claws. This is because the platypus is semi-aquatic. It moves around quite smoothly in the water, but isn't quite so graceful on land.
In fact, its terrestrial energy cost is very steep. To counteract this, the webbing between on its forefeet retracts, giving way to sharp claws.
Both male and female platypuses also have sharp spurs on their hind ankles.
The males carry a very specialized type of venom in these spurs, composed of cysteine-rich proteins, a few of which are entirely unique to the platypus. While this venom is lethal to smaller animals (dogs, dingoes, quolls, etc.), the venom is not
deadly to humans. However, it is strong enough to incapacitate someone, causing what has been described as excruciating pain.
Wow! The world is going to end! I got all three right and they were biology questions!!!!
Well done! !
Hey when you get a chance take a look at my latest poll I have a sciencey kind of question, please.
I'll look right now!