What is a Mammal?

polar-bears image
What Are Mammals - • Most mammals give birth to live babies. The babies look a lot like thir parents.

You probably know that you’re a mammal, right? How about your dog or your cat? Yup, both mammals. What about seals or whales? Yes, even these creatures are mammals.

Polar Bears in the Ice - Science for Kids What is a Mammal
What is a Mammal? Most mammals give birth to live babies. The babies look a lot like their parents.

So what makes a mammal a mammal? All animals are characterized by how their body works, what they eat and how they have babies. Mammals have some special ways of doing things that no other animals have.

Fun Facts about Mammals for Kids

  • Most mammals give birth to live babies. The babies look a lot like their parents – only cuter! Mammal babies stay with their mothers, at least for a while. They drink mama’s milk. This is called suckling. Duck-billed platypus is one of the few mammals that doesn’t have live babies. Platypus mamas lay soft eggs that are the size of marbles!
  • All mammals have warm blood. That means they can warm up and cool down their bodies. Mammals control their body temperature by sweating, shivering and panting. A polar bear living in the snow has the same body temperature as a monkey in the jungle.
  • Mammals move in different ways. Some mammals move on four legs. Some, such as horses or big cats, can run very quickly. Bats are the only mammal that can fly. Moles have feet like a shovel for burrowing. Dolphins and whales have flippers and tails to swim with. How do you move?
  • Mammals have backbones. Mammals might look different, but they all have bony skeletons. These skeletons hold us up and keep us going. Animals with backbones are called vertebrates.
  • Mammals have hair or fur. Some fur or hair is short, some is long. Some comes in cool patterns. But, we all have it.
  • Mammal extinction is happening quickly. In the last 500 years, at least 75 species have become extinct. More than 25 percent are in danger of extinction.
  • Humans are the only animals that walk on two legs instead of four. Well, kangaroos, too, but they mostly hop.

Mammal Vocabulary

  1. Suckling: A mama mammal’s body makes rich milk to feed her baby
  2. Warm blooded: Able to control body temperature
  3. Shivering: When a mammal is cold, it shivers to warm up
  4. Sweating: When an animal is hot, it sweats to cool down
  5. Vertebrate: An animal with a backbone

Learn More About What is a Mammal

Understand even more what a mammal is in this video:

A video documentary about the different kinds of mammals in the world.

Mammal Q&A

Question: Which mammal lives the longest?
Answer: We do!


Question: What is the smallest mammal on earth?
Answer: The bumblebee bat. This bat is the size of a bee. It lives in Thailand.


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