Monotremes And People
The special features of monotremes that set them apart from other mammals make them subjects of fascination and curiosity. Nearly everyone has heard about the platypus and knows that it is an egg-laying mammal. The reptilian features of the living monotremes provide a valuable window back in time to when reptiles were evolving into mammals.
Platypus fur was once a valued commodity because of its softness and fine texture. Hunting of the platypus in the late 1800s and early 1900s nearly drove the animals to extinction. Strict laws within Australia now protect platypus and echidnas, and the animals are fairly abundant today.
Echidnas in New Guinea are sometimes considered pests because they dig up gardens and farmland in their unending search for ants, termites, and earthworms. Habitat loss threatens the long-nosed echidna because it is confined to upland New Guinean forest, a limited habitat. The New Guinean echidnas are also hunted for food.
- Monotremes: Monotremata - Conservation Status
- Monotremes: Monotremata - Behavior And Reproduction
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