Since it first became known to European scientists and naturalists in 1798, the platypus has been the subject of controversy, interest and absolute wonder. Found only in Australia, the platypus is a mammal that lays eggs but, like other mammals, it has fur and suckles its young on milk. Many early biologists who visited the British colonies in Australia, including Charles Darwin, went out of their way to observe this remarkable animal. In Australia today the species is considered to be an icon, but one that many Australians have never seen in the wild. This book presents established factual information about the platypus and examines the most recent research findings, along with some of the colourful history of the investigation of its biology. This completely updated edition covers its anatomy, distribution and abundance, breeding, production of venom, unique senses, ecology, ancestry and conservation. It includes a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section for the general reader and, for those wishing to find out more detailed information, a comprehensive reference list.