New born panda cubs
New born panda cubs
 
 
An opossum carrying her babies
An opossum carrying her babies
 
 
Mammals use a diaphragm to breathe
Mammals use a diaphragm to breathe
 
 
A bumblebee bat, smallest mammal
A bumblebee bat, smallest mammal
 
 
A pygmy shrew, lightest mammal
A pygmy shrew, lightest mammal
 
 
A blue whale, largest mammal
A blue whale, largest mammal
 
 What is...mammal?
Topic(s):   Mammals, What is ...

Mammals are vertebrates. That means they have backbones. They are warm-blooded. That means their bodies stay the same temperature no matter what temperature it is outside. Mammals have a few features that make them different from other animals.

Most mammals give birth to live young. (The duck-billed platypus is a mammal that lays eggs.) Most young, like human babies, grow inside the mother. Some young, like kangaroo babies, come out early. They crawl into the motherís pouch and grow some more there. All mammal young are fed milk from their mothers.

All mammals have hair. Whales and dolphins are mammals. They only have hair before they are born, though. Mammals have a special jaw. It is attached right to the skull. Other animals have another bone in between. Mammal ears are different, too. There are three tiny bones inside that help carry sound.

Mammals have a special way of breathing. They have a muscle under the heart and lungs. It is called the diaphragm. When it goes down, air is pulled into the lungs. When it goes up, air is forced out.

The smallest mammal known is the bumblebee bat. It is less than an inch and a half long. The lightest mammal is the pygmy shrew. It weighs only about 0.07 ounces. The largest mammal is the blue whale. It can be over 100 feet long. There are over 5,000 species of mammals in the world. The first mammals appeared 220 million years ago.

Resource information

Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Mammal. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/360838/mammal

National Wildlife Federation. (n.d.). Pygmy Shrew: Americaís Smallest Mammal and Its Hungriest. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National- Wildlife/Animals/Archives/2010/Americas-Smallest-Mammal.aspx

Ramel, G. (n.d.). What is a Mammal? Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.earthlife.net/mammals/mammal.html

Smallest Mammal in the World. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.liveanimalslist.com/interesting-animals/smallest-mammal-in-the-world.php

Citation information

APA Style:† † † † What is a Mammal?. (2014, March). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style: † † † "What is a Mammal?." Facts4Me. Mar. 2014. http://www.facts4me.com.

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