Common Characteristics of Mammal Species
Mammals are warm-blooded creatures. They can control their body heat. This enables them to keep their bodies at a constant temperature. Cold-blooded animals, on the other hand, have to rely on outside heat sources like the sun to achieve warmth. Only mammals have the ability to sweat so that they can cool off. As a result, mammals eat more food than their cold-blooded counterparts in order to produce extra energy for maintaining their body temperature.
Mammals also have fur and this characteristic is exclusive to only them. Marine as well as land mammals possess fur. This provides them with warmth in cold temperatures. Foxes and bears are some of the examples that come to mind. Fur grows from skin pores called follicles. Their melanin levels determine the color of their fur hair.
Most mammals also share another common characteristic – they give live birth to their offspring. Unlike birds and many other species which lay eggs, female mammals carry around their young for a period of eight to nine months in their bodies. The gestation period of the offspring is proportional to the placenta of the carrying female. Rodents and rabbits are known to give birth in under a month. Large mammals on the other hand such as elephants, are known to carry their babies for 1.5 years! The only mammals that don’t give birth directly are echidnas and duck-bill platypus. They lay eggs instead. These eggs are then sat upon and after a period of time they hatch with their offspring.Female mammals have to breastfeed their young. They give milk to their children for facilitating their growing up. The number of teats on a mammal varies from species to species. Milk is formed by the glands which are highly modified sweat glands. This is also a unique mammal characteristic.