Can You Own A Pet Platypus? Is it Legal?

Animals who make their way to your home also make their way to the heart. But are Platypus the one amongst them?

No matter whether a Platypus has made its way to your heart or not, you can’t have it as a pet. Why? Well, Platypus is an extremely dangerous mammal that is threatened and illegal to own as pets. A pet platypus is a rare sight because replicating their life in the wild within a captive environment is very tricky. Pet enthusiasts and hobbyists can’t make it to keep Platypus happy and safe. Only a trained animalist can and is legally permitted to keep Pet Platypus. However, individuals like these, too, can’t keep such exotic animals for their fantasy and usage. Here’s more about it. 

Can you have Platypus as pets?

No, unless you are doing some research on Platypus (behavioral study, breeding study, etc.), it isn’t possible to own them. They are an endangered species, and taking them out of the wild just for domestication is a crime.

Doing so can lead you to legal trouble, along with a high fine. Platypus is native to the Australian wild, and it is extremely difficult (almost impossible) to export them out of the country.

Besides that, meeting their needs and suitability for domestic life is nearly impossible for a private person. And given the environment isn’t right, Platypus won’t survive for long as a pet. 

Platypus Evolution and History

Platypus is a semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal and is often referred to as the duck-billed Platypus. It is the sole living representative of the Ornithorhynchidae family since other related species are now part of just fossil records. 

Platypus is native to Eastern Australia, including Tasmania, and the male from these species is also one of the world’s few venomous mammals. It is also one of the very few mammals that lay eggs instead of birthing a live young.

Platypus is an iconic symbol of Australia and is culturally significant to several Aboriginal peoples of the country.

They are legally protected and today are listed as endangered in Victoria and South Australia. Besides that, the IUCN list Platypus as a Threatened species due to their declining numbers in all native lands. 

History of Platypus:

 According to the fossil records, a Platypus-like monotreme evolved about 110 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period. It was when Australia and South Australia were still connected by Antarctica. As per studies, they probably evolved from a more- generalized terrestrial monotreme.

Can You Own A Pet Platypus

Platypus Species Overview/ Platypus Taxonomy Chart

NamePlatypus
Other NamesDuck-Billed Platypus, Watermole,
Duckbill, and Duckmole
Scientific NameOrnithorhynchus anatinus
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderMonotremata
FamilyOrnithorhynchidae
GenusOrnithorhynchus
SpeciesO. anatinus
CladeSynapsida and Mammaliaformes
SizeLength: 50 cm (Male), 43 cm (Female)
Mass: 1 to 2.4 kg (Male), 0.7 to 1.6 kg (Female)
LifespanUp to 17 years in captivity
Upto 20 years in the wild

Is a Platypus Legal to Own In Australia?

No, the Australian government strictly restricts the usage of Platypus as pets. No private person, except Zoos and Scientific Institutions, can keep Platypus in captivity. Even these organizations need to apply for a license and go through a long process before getting their hands on the animal. Not just domesticating but catching a Platypus from the wild, exporting, harming, or killing is termed as illegal. 

Are Platypus legal in the U.S.?

Platypus is elusive (not easy to find) and is not legal for domestication in the United States. In the first place, getting them outside of Australia is a challenge in itself. The Australian government protects its native Threatened species quite efficiently, and so do the U.S. government corporates. The laws for different U.S. states might vary on this matter; however, there are rare chances if a local legislature will allow Platypus to a private person. 

Also, according to the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to own an illegal or threatened species in the USA. Though the list does not cover Platypus, no private person has yet got a green chit for owning one. The authorities will deny the adoption/ possession of these species anyway.

More About Platypus and Their Domestication terms

Platypus Housing Needs

Platypus in the wild lives in inland waters. Their home ranges from 0.14 to 0.25 square miles, probably the clean water streams. Platypus is sensitive to toxins and urban surface water runoff. Even the agricultural wastewater effluents aren’t the best suitable aquatic conditions for them. 

In captivity, Platypus needs a large water tank with water changing every single day. Appropriate filters, aquatic features, and temperature regulations are quite critical.

Platypus Temperature and Humidity Needs

The Platypus does well in clean water, preferably at room temperature. Too hot or too cold water can harm the animal and even prove fatal.

Platypus Dietary Needs

Platypus eats a lot, though these mammals are quite picky eaters. They need to have food of 20% of their body weight every day. In the wild, they feed upon aquatic invertebrates, including crayfish, insects, insect larvae, freshwater shrimp, some shellfish, and worms.

In captivity, it is important to feed live food to Platypus. These mammals would probably eat freeze-dried products. And since it isn’t a captive breed, trying commercial or processed food comes with a set of challenges.

Even if there’s any food suitable for Platypus’s needs, you never know if it will suit the mammal or not. Chances of poisoning and so are also active.

Platypus Cleaning Needs

While Platypus does not need bathing or grooming, its tank needs regular cleaning. From changing the water every day to washing the tank/ aquarium and cleaning the filters, it takes a lot of work.

Common Health Problems with Platypus

Though health considerations affecting Platypus aren’t yet much known, Ulcerative mucormycosis is one prominent threat for these mammals. It is a fungal disease that causes nasty, ulcerated lesions on animals and can prove fatal. 

How Much Does a Platypus Cost?

Estimating the cost of Platypus is tricky since none of them is on sale. Individuals who want to buy these animals are out of luck. Only Zoos and Research facilities can have Platypus in captivity that too after a long process.

Even Zoos outside Australia made to get their hands on Platypus after 61 years of a long struggle. Imagine if such huge facilities would make it a hard way, there are no possibilities for a private person left.

Platypus facts for kids

  1. Platypus is one of those very few mammals that lay eggs.
  2. Platypuses are venomous but too shy as well.
  3. Platypuses are mysterious as they give off a fluorescent green-blue glow under U.V. light. Why? Well, research is still being done.
  4. For a long time, humans thought Platypus were not real animals. Even when they were discovered in 1798, scientists thought Platypus was a hoax created by putting parts of different animals. However, later it came out as a joke to scientists, and Platypus was recognized as real animals.
  5. Platypuses surprisingly have no stomach (No teeth either). 
  6. Platypus sweat milk.
  7. Platypus is believed to exist even before the extinction of dinosaurs, and the early Platypus were huge. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Has anyone ever kept a pet Platypus?

Pet Platypus is entirely out of the question, and no private individual has ever kept them as pets. However, if someone has illegally done so, that’s not on record.

Why can’t you touch a platypus?

Platypus produces venom through venom glands that are connected to hollow spurs on their hind legs. Upon touching this animal, they might throw venom, which can prove lethal for humans.

Can Platypus live in captivity?

Given the right care and condition, Platypus can survive for a long in captivity. There are animals (Platypus) documented to make it up to 23 years in captivity.

Are there Platypus in Zoos? Do any US zoos have Platypus?

Yes, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park houses two Platypus to raise awareness for the unique species. However, these are the only two Platypus outside Australia anywhere in the world.

Wrapping up…

Do Platypus Make Good Pets? Given their extreme wild lifestyle, Venomous body, and Solitary nature, Platypus, won’t make good pets. They are one interesting animal but one of the worst candidates as pets.

The species faces the threat of extinction in the wild therefore catching them for domestication fascination isn’t even ethical. Either watch them at San Diego Zoo or the ones in Australia. 

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