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What is a Mammal Animal?

Qué es un animal mamífero

A mammal belongs to the group of vertebrate animals. Some examples of mammals are rats, cats, dogs, deer, monkeys, bats, whales, dolphins and humans.

If you were looking for exactly what a mammal animal is, or how to tell them apart, in this article we are going to look at several aspects to recognize them. In addition to knowing some examples of mammalian animal.

Let’s then see the exact definition and some characteristics of mammalian animals.

What is a mammal animal and what are its characteristics?

Mammals are a diverse group of animals that includes about 4,500 species adapted to live in a wide variety of environments. The vast majority of mammal species live on land, although some, such as otters, seals and dolphins, live in freshwater and ocean habitats. Bats are mammals capable of flight.

The mammalian animal is possibly one of the most successful vertebrate animals. Evolutionary adaptations have allowed mammals to survive in places such as cold polar areas and alpine mountain habitats, where few other vertebrate animals can live. The success of mammals in colonizing the Earth is perhaps best illustrated by one particular species capable of altering its environment on a global scale: humans.

The 6 main characteristics of a mammalian animal

To know what a mammal animal is quickly, it is essential that you know the 6 main characteristics that define them. With this, most of the time and without taking into account some exceptions, you will be able to recognize a mammalian animal.

  1. They feed their young with milk from their mammary glands. These creatures belong to the Mammalia family, which means that they have milk-producing mammary glands, which are useful for feeding their young during the first weeks of life.
  1. They are warm-blooded, also known as homeotherms; this means that they have the ability to regulate their body temperature, keeping it within certain standards.
  1. They are vertebrate animals. They have a spinal column that helps them move and adapt to different environments.
  1. The reproduction of this species is viviparous. The fetus develops into an embryo inside the mother’s uterus; and through her it will obtain all the food and oxygen necessary for its development until the moment of birth.
  1. They have pulmonary respiration. Including aquatic mammals such as dolphins and whales have lungs. That is, they breathe the oxygen in the air, unlike some aquatic species that have gills.
  1. They have furry skin. Those with thicker fur, which live in cold climates. The opposite is true for creatures with short fur, which mostly live in tropical or hot areas. An exception are aquatic mammals, whose skin is smooth and without fur

how to distinguish a mammal animal from other vertebrates?

Mammalian animals are distinguished from other vertebrate animals by several unique characteristics

  • All mammals produce and secrete milk from mammary glands to feed their young
  • They also have hair on their bodies, although some groups of mammals have less hair than others. Hair or fur helps mammals survive in cold climates by insulating their bodies.
  • They are known to regulate the internal body temperature of their bodies because they are warm-blooded.

what are marine mammalian animals?

The remainder of this unit will focus on aquatic mammals, which live in or near the ocean. There are 128 known species of marine mammals. Marine mammals include whales, sirenians, pinnipeds, sea otters, sea otters, and polar bears. There are also several groups of marine mammals that have become extinct. These include sea sloths, fur seals and a whole order of hippopotamus-like mammals called desmostylids.

So what is a marine mammal animal?

The mammal that lives in or near the ocean.

Groups of terrestrial and marine mammals

Mammalian animals are divided into 3 terrestrial groups: monotremes, marsupials and placentals. All of them have hair, produce milk and are warm-blooded.

  1. Monotremes are platypuses and echidnas and the females lay soft-shelled eggs.
  2. Marsupials give birth to small, undeveloped young and most females, such as kangaroos, wallabies and koala, have pouches.
  3. Placental mammals, such as humans, whales, rodents, and bats, differ from monotremes and marsupials in that they generally give birth to well-developed young.

Mammals are a diverse group, but they all produce milk to feed their young
, have hair or fur, have a unique jaw structure, and are warm-blooded

Evidence that mammals evolved from reptiles is provided by fossils between 250 and 180 million years old. These fossils include a large number of species that share so many reptile and mammalian characteristics that they cannot be assigned to either group.

There are also 3 groups of marine mammalian animals, cetaceans, seals and dugongs


During the article we have learned to know what a mammal animal is, how we can distinguish it from other vertebrates and what are its main characteristics. We have also seen some examples. If you have something to contribute, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments! 🙂

Alejandra Roig

Alejandra Roig

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