A reverse Google image search showed that this is actually a small sculpture of a platypus. The search brings up the Artstation page (see www.artstation.com/) of Serbian artist Vladimir Matić-Kuriljov who made this object out of Super Sculpey and painted it with acrylic paints, as referenced here .
In the description, Matić-Kuriljov adds, “Probably the cutest thing I ever made.”
Matić-Kuriljov’s about page describes his work: “Graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 2010. specializing in illustration and animation. Since 2013. I’ve been working at Mad Head Games. I also do illustration, portraits, caricature, comics, animation, scale modeling, FX makeup, cosplay, miniature sculpting and art dolls.”
A website called People of Lancaster even used the photograph to illustrate an article (see here) about a duck-billed platypus allegedly being born at a zoo. The article is tagged as “satire” at the end of the piece – but this is not clear to a new visitor to the site. They have also shared the article and picture on their Facebook page here , promoting over 4,000 shares. Some users evidently understood the article to be true, posting comments such as: “your kids would love to see this”. Such was the reaction, ZooAmerica (the real Pennsylvania zoo named in the ‘satirical’ article) stated in a comment underneath:
“Hello from ZooAmerica! We want our guests to know this is not a legitimate story. That said, we are excited to have recently welcomed some new additions to ZooAmerica, including a Canada lynx named Wren and a river otter named Iris. We also opened a new parrot habitat for our six thick-billed parrots last month.”
False: This is not a photograph of a baby platypus, and one was not recently born at ZooAmerica.