Mammals are vertebrate animals constituting the class of Mammalia and characterized by the presence of mammary glands, Which they produce milk for feeding their young. The presence of hair or fur. Sweat glands. Glands specialized to produce milk, known as mammary glands. Three middle ear bones. A four-chambered heart.
Largest and Smallest Mammals
- The largest mammal is the Blue Whale which lives in the ocean and can grow to over 80 feet long.
- The largest land mammal is the Elephant followed by the rhino and the hippo (They can’t spend a lot of time in the water).
- The smallest mammal is Kitty’s hog-nosed bat. This bat is 1.2 inches long and weighs less than 1/2 a pound. It is also called the bumblebee bat.
Dolphins are mammals, and warm-blooded. They breathe air using lungs. Dolphins must make frequent trips to the surface of the water to catch a breath. The blowhole on top of a dolphin’s head acts as a “nose,” making it easy for the dolphin to surface for air.
Other characteristics of dolphins that make give birth to live young rather than laying eggs and they feed their young with milk. Even they have a tiny amount of hair, right around the blowhole. Whales and porpoises are also mammals.
Classification Of Mammals
Mammalia has the largest class in the animal kingdom. Based on their reproduction, they are classified into three subclasses:
- Eutheria: under this subclass give birth to young ones. The young ones are developed inside the mother and derive nutrition through the placenta from the mother. Ex: Elephants, Cows.
- Metatheria: Under this sub-class give birth to immature young ones, hence they stay in their mother’s pouch until they mature. Ex: Marsupials, and Kangaroos.
- Egg-laying: Few mammals lay eggs, they are called monotremes. Monotremes include the platypus and the long-nosed spiny anteater.
They are the most adaptable animals on the planet. They are found on every continent and in every ocean. Mammals as a group use every possible form of locomotion. Terrestrial species walk, run, jump, climb, hop, swing, dig, and burrow. Aquatic ones swim, shuffle, and dive. Some are even fly.
Most mammals are intelligent, with some possessing large brains, self-awareness, and tool use. Mammals can communicate and vocalize in several ways, including the production of ultrasound, scent-marking, alarm signals, singing, and echolocation. Mammals can organize themselves into fission-fusion societies, harems, and hierarchies, but can also be solitary and territorial. Most mammals are polygynous, but some can be monogamous or polyandrous.