Believe it or not. The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), sometimes called the duck-billed platypus, is so unusual that the first scientists to examine the creature originally believed that it was a hoax. The image reproduces both the animal and some of the sundry parts that led to this belief. Often described as a hodgepodge of other animals, specifically otters, ducks, and beavers, the platypus is considered a monotreme. Monotremes are egg-laying mammals that are closely related to marsupials. Its fur and body, which are similar to otters, make swimming ideal for the platypus. Its pelt is waterproof and can form special flaps to cover its snout when swimming, allowing it to stay submerged for about two minutes. Unlike the duck with which it shares its bill, the platypus is strictly a carnivore and uses its bill to scoop insects, larvae, and worms from the bottom of lakes and rivers as well as bits of gravel to help it chew. Like a duck, however, the webbing on its back feet is retractable allowing it to run quickly on land. Lastly, like beavers, the platypus stores extra fat in its tail.