Mammals – Features

Mammals are defined by having a number of shared characteristics:


All mammals have a back bone or spinal chord made up of a number of individual vertebrae.




Mammals are warm-blooded creatures, they have a fairly high body temperature which is maintained by the body’s metabolism.

Body temperature image



All mammals have four limbs. Some mammals walk on all four limbs, others walk on two and others can do both.

Bears an example of tetrapods



Mammals have hair which grows from follicles found in the skin. Functions of the hair include warmth, protection and to act as a sensor.

mammals with hair



Mammals breathe using a pair of lungs composed of spongy like material. The breathing rate of mammals varies – a whale might only breathe once every two hours while smaller rodents breathe 150+ times a minute.

mammals lungs



Most mammals give birth to live young but a few lay eggs.

live young litter


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). Mammals – Features. Available: Last accessed Monday, July 18, 2016

Mammals Pages

Mammals A – Z