A while back on the Internet, people started to share photos of a "baby platypus" looking adorable as hell.
We did a debunking, but as always, the posts came round again, and you probably can't go on Facebook right now without scrolling past a relative saying "LOOK AT THIS. It is a BABY PLATYPUS and I DEMAND you LOOK AT IT".
Sometimes, the little thing was wearing a cowboy hat. And sometimes a monocle.
Others took it as a good omen.
Several mega-viral tweets were deleted in shame, because, as they probably got sick of being informed a thousand times a minute: It's not a baby platypus, it's a rock.
The adorable baby monotreme was actually an adorable baby statue created by artist Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov (check out his other awesome artworks here).
"I just wanted to further clarify that it's [a] sculpture made out of Super Sculpey, a polymer clay," Vladimir told IFLScience. "The description of the piece on my ArtStation post clearly says so, it's just the title that turned out to be misleading - 'Stone Platypus Baby'. What I actually had in mind was an invented fantasy species of 'stone platypus', I never considered how it might be misinterpreted."
So it's a great sculpture, but sadly not real. Baby platypuses – which by the way are called puggles, like baby echidnas, also monotremes – do not look like this. They are, however, still cute as hell, and even squishier than the viral posts would have you believe.
This next one is actually an echidna but at least it isn't a rock.
While we're here, let's share some facts about these undeniably weird and wonderful creatures.
They're one of only a few venomous mammals (males have venomous spurs on their back feed), have a bill that detects electric fields, and lay eggs. They also nurse their young, despite not having nipples. They ooze milk out of their mammary gland ducts, where it collects in the folds of their skin. The babies then suck it up from their fur, or lap it up from their folds.
We are also losing them at an alarming rate, and need to act fast. But that fact isn't fun.