What is a mammal?
Mammals are one of the two large group classifications that include living and extinct animals.
Mammals are one of three types of vertebrates, which are animals that have a backbone or spine.
The other two types of vertebrates are fish and reptiles.
Vertebrates all have bones to support their bodies, in contrast to invertebrates.
Invertebrates can be thought of as animals that do not have a spine or backbones, such as insects and worms.
Vertebrates also include birds, which lay eggs but are still considered vertebrates because they have a backbone.
How To Tell Mammals From Other Classes
The way to tell the difference between a mammal and other vertebrates is relatively simple.
Mammals have hair or fur.
If the animal has hair or fur, it is a mammal.
Reptiles and fish do not have any kind of hair or fur on their body.
Mammals are also warm-blooded, meaning they are able to keep themselves at a constant temperature regardless of their environment is hot or cold.
Birds are warm-blooded, but they are different from mammals because birds have feathers.
Reptiles and fish are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature matches the surrounding environment.
Mammals also give milk to their young through the nipples on their bodies.
Other vertebrates lay eggs that hatch into babies that do not need milk in order to survive.
Mammals are often called the dominant class of animals on Earth because there are more species of mammals than any other class of living things.
This includes many types of plants, insects, fish, reptiles, and birds.
Mammals are very common throughout the world in almost every type of habitat available.
There are even some species that live underwater, such as whales, dolphins, and manatees.
What Do Mammals Eat?
Mammals have a variety of diets because there are so many different types of species within this classification.
Some mammals eat only plants.
Other mammals eat only meat.
However, the majority of mammals fall into a mixed diet that consists of both meat and vegetation or fruit that they find in their environment.
Mammals are very successful animals on Earth because of their warm-bloodedness, which allows them to survive in hot climates or go on long hunts for food.
There are many varieties of mammals that fit into different niches in the environment, which means they occupy a certain area and fulfill some type of job within the community of animals.