Do platypuses really sweat milk? © Getty Images

Do platypuses really sweat milk?

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Asked by: Jenny Peterson, Ellesmere Port


They secrete milk from specialised mammary glands, just like humans and other mammals. But platypuses don’t have teats, so the milk just oozes from the surface of their skin. This makes it look like sweat, but in fact platypuses are aquatic and don’t produce regular sweat at all.

Since this delivery system is less hygienic than the direct nipple-in-mouth method, platypus milk contains powerful antibacterial proteins to protect the babies from illness. These proteins may be a useful source of future antibiotics.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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