That’s not a baby platypus, this is a baby platypus

By Australian Geographic June 15, 2021
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Don’t be fooled by the fake baby platypus phenomenon. This is what a real platypus puggle looks like.

There’s strangely no shortage of sculpted baby platypuses in the world, and time and time again we fall for those exaggerated, humanised features. 

A real baby platypus, which is actually known as a puggle, has teeny-tiny eyes, a flat head and silky-smooth looking short hair. And hey, we think they’re pretty cute, even if they don’t look like baby Yoda. 

The first and one of the most famous of these sculptures is Serbian artist Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov’s ‘platypus baby’. Vlad took to Instagram in February last year after he was accused of creating a hoax.

(Image credit: @shunakart)
Related: The puzzle of the platypus: could time be up for this iconic Aussie animal?

“Lots of people were confused if it were real,” he said. “It’s not, I intended it just as a cute sculpture of a fantasy creature, I didn’t base it on any real world reference. It kinda looks like a platypus or even more like an echidna.”

It really does look like a weird amalgamation of an echidna and platypus puggle.

Echidna puggles. (Image credit: Guy Dixon)

While it was sculpted from stone, people went wild posting images of Vladimir’s sculpture with captions like “because we all need a baby platypus in our lives today 😌 ” and “a baby platypus is called a puggle 💕.” 

Then there was this sculpture by Russian toy artist Yuliya Leonovich, made from wool, polymer and clay. 

(image credit: Yuliya Leonovich)

We’re willing to allow some concessions with this one as the artificial fur is deceiving. 

The most recent sculpture doing the rounds (albeit it’s been around for a while), however, is just downright ridiculous and alas, we’re still falling for it. Russian doll maker Oso Polar made this “baby platypus” with a giant head in addition to teddy-bear-like fur.

(Image credit: Oso Polar)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and shame on the whole universe. 

But not all heroes wear capes. Images of these sculptures on social media are littered with commenters correcting the record with real images of platypus puggles. Keep up the good work!