I have a young cousin — and I thank you, Andrew — who recently introduced me to the word “puggle” which I think is a fine word. It means baby platypus.

I see that dog breeders with too much time on their hands have also introduced a hybrid dog breed by the same name, but I will use the word as it should be used, to describe baby platypuses. If dog breeders want to cross pugs and beagles, let them find a new name for the result.

Having just learned the word, I was anxious for an opportunity to use it, but a blog about birds seemed an unlikely place. But today comes news from the science magazine Nature that scientists have successfully mapped the entire genome of the platypus. That is of interest to birders because some of the genes found in the platypus were, until now, known only in birds. Said differently, birds and platypuses are distant relatives, sort of like Andrew and I.

For instance, platypuses share with chickens a gene for a type of egg-yolk protein. Puggles are born from eggs; but treated to mothers’ milk, like mammals, as soon as they are born. They possess microRNAs which chickens have, plus different microRNAs which only mammals possess. And, unlike mammals, platypuses have two matches for what scientists call the ZPAX genes which, until now, had been found only in birds, fish and amphibians. These are the genes that determine the sex of puggles. Ten sets of chromosomes do that job instead of two which is enough for humans: An X and a Y result in a baby boy; two Xs result in baby girls.

Platypuses have X chromosomes, but they are much more like the Z chromosomes found in birds than the usual mammalian X. “The sex chromosomes are absolutely, completely different from all other mammals. We had not expected that,” said one of the scientists. And the Y chromosome, which platypuses possess, seems to have nothing to do with gender.

Platypuses are “monotremes.” (From the Greek monos ‘single’ + trema ‘hole’) Analogous to avian cloacas, they have but one opening for the intestinal, urinary, and genital tracts.

Platypuses are the oldest surviving branch of all mammals on the earth today. They got their start on the ancient continent of Gondwana which split into modern Australia and South America. Monotremes on South America died out but platypuses survive on the East coast of Australia and on Tasmania. They lay eggs, but make milk for their babies; they have fur coats and an aquatic life style; they forage for food underwater using an electro-sensory system in their duck-shaped bills. The males grow spurs on their rear legs which produce venom strong enough to kill dogs and incapacitate humans; a venom remarkably similar to that produced by venomous snakes.

To quote the scientists again, “There is nothing quite as enigmatic as a platypus.” But don’t take their word for it. Here is Odgen Nash on the subject:

The Platypus

I like the duck-billed platypus
Because it is anomalous.
I like the way it raises its family
Partly birdly, partly mammaly.
I like its independent attitude.
Let no one call it a duck-billed platitude.


You can see video from Nature here and read newspaper articles here and here.


Tags: , , ,

43 Responses to “Puggles”

  1. mothers who kill their babies Says:

    mothers who kill their babies…

    How do you come up with so much material to blog with?…

  2. Emma Says:

    When I googled baby platypus this link came up first- http://www.australianfauna.com/platypus.php

    “A baby platypus is not called a puggle, which seems to be a common misconception. There is no official name for a baby platypus, but a common suggested name is “platypup”.”

    I think puggle is still a cuter name though.

  3. Rose♥ Says:


    GO SUPER CUTE PLATYPUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1937 = æ
    8945 = ±
    7887 = ╧
    456654 = ╬
    894 = ~
    5914 = →
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    74159 = »
    8429 = φ
    7913 = Θ
    14 = ♫
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    12 = ♀
    9363 = ô
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    9494 = ▬
    1456 = ░
    1479 = ╟
    700 = ╝
    11 = ♂
    165 = Ñ
    9674 = ╩
    7 = •
    6 = ♠
    5 = ♣
    4 = ♦
    798 = ▲
    132 = ä
    779797 = §
    979 = ╙
    70584 = ╕
    8077 = ì
    9872 = É
    2015 = ▀
    794613 = ⌡
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    computer is whack job and i cant fix it so thats all for now!

  4. Abigail Says:


    i meant platyPUS but platyPUSH is cuter!

  5. Wickum Says:

    Soooo Cute!!!

  6. Platypuggle Luver Says:

    puggles are ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. KatieBear Says:

    puggle is a word used by austriallians- it was/is a toy company that makes plush toys like beanie babies. austriallian scientists use the word but it is not colloqualism and more commonly understood in the west to be the breed of dogs poodle + pug

  8. jen and beck Says:

    I love baby platypuses! . 🙂

  9. Alec Says:

    Male platypus actually have toxins in their hind legs that will send you to the emergency room in excruciating pain. Don’t attempt to pet…

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  11. Cleveland Says:

    Thanks for explaining

  12. Louise Says:

    Just to clarify – a puggle is a baby echidna not a baby platypus

  13. Mr Metcalf Says:

    i thought a puggle was a pug-beagle crossbreed

  14. yabanci film izle Says:

    There is no official name for a baby platypus,

  15. foton kusagi Says:

    Foton kuşağı
    uggle is a word used by austriallians- it was/is a toy company that makes plush toys like beanie babies. austriallian scientists use the word but it is not colloqualism and more commonly bursa otel There is no official name for a baby platypus, but a common suggested

  16. katz Says:

    Look, the word means what people use it to mean. So it refers to a baby platypus, a baby echidna, a crossbred dog, and a stuffed animal.

    Let’s just focus on the fact that they’re all adorable and leave it at that.

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  18. 8100030d Says:

    ı read your topic and the comments, ı think they are very nice

  19. Altın Fiyatları Says:

    Oooo. I love this Platys:)

    But I dont understand İts Bird? or another animal.?


  20. biber hapı Says:

    There is no official name for a baby platypus,

  21. Carlo Pagan Says:

    The male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.

    Carlo Pagan
    Pet Plush Toys

  22. Tisby Says:

    It’s really helpful, thanks for it.

  23. escort bayan Says:

    There is no official name for a baby platypus,

  24. mirc Says:

    Just to clarify – a puggle is a baby echidna not a baby platypus

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  26. Bubbles Says:

    Bubbles Thanks…

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  29. ogame Says:

    ty very much

  30. GHOST_01 Says:

    good article 😉 =)

  31. TymanAnime Says:


  32. dolmuş reklam Says:

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    keep going…

  33. Skylar Says:

    OMG—–LOVE THEM! They have to be the cutest things on earth!

  34. Skylar Says:


  35. Jennifer Says:

    Yes.I know that baby platypus’s and a hybrid dog (which would be a cross between a beagle and a pug) have the same name but that is not unexceptable.The creaters of the dog just decided to combine the pug and the beagle’s names.The were not trying to steal the name from which a baby platypus is called.The creaters may not even have been aware that “puggle” is the name for a baby platypus.The dog is called a puggle so you may call it whatever else you want but any other name that you call it will not be correct.

    • Jennifer Says:

      I appoligize if this offends anyone but I am just saying the truth.And those photos are adorable!!Platypus’s are very interesting animals!!

  36. טיפול בהליקובקטר פילורי Says:

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  37. pugglepuppy Says:

    A puggle to most people… unlike you… is referenced as a dog. so no we wont find a new name for the puggles… thanks though. google a puggle it doesnt come up with very many platypus’ now does it? so you come up with a new name.

  38. hakan toprak Says:

    Thank You

  39. Hakan Arı Says:

    thank you

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