Are There Any Venomous Mammals?

The male platypus is one of the rare venomous mammals in the world. The species is native to Australia and has a distinctive mix of features: a furry body, a flat tail like a beaver, and webbed feet and a bill like a duck. Male platypuses also have poisonous stingers on the backs of their legs, which allows them to shoot venom when it feels threatened; however, the venom usually results in significant pain but not death. They tend to hunt underwater for bottom feeder prey, such as worms, insects, and shellfish.

Although the male platypus is the only furred venomous mammal, the species does not actually have any natural predators so it is not known why they have this defense mechanism. Examples of other venomous mammals include vampire bats and shrews.

More about the platypus:

  • When the platypus was first discovered, the scientists who were checking it out thought the animal was some type of hoax because of its unusual appearance.
  • The platypus is one of only two mammals in the world to lay eggs.
  • Since platypuses don’t have teeth, they use their bills to add gravel along with their prey to the mouth so they can more easily crush it up.

Discussion Comments


There are a few venomous mammals - vampire bats, slow lorises, and some shrews and tree shrews.


These are some very interesting tidbits on the platypus. Just my opinion, but I'm assuming that they will only attack if they feel extremely threatened. I've watched a documentary on the life of a platypus, and surprisingly, their defense mechanism wasn't discussed at all. However, the article said that the species doesn't have any (natural) predators, so I guess that makes sense.


I know that the article doesn't specifically state this, but will they also attack humans if they feel threatened?

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