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Mammals are a group of animals with backbones, and bodies insulated by hair. They nurse their infants with milk [the word “mammal” is derived from the Latin “mamma”, meaning breast]. Mammals display truly astonishing features, thrilling behaviour and complex societies. They have made intricate adaptations to a wide range of habitats.
There are over 4,600 mammal species, varying in size from Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, 1.5g, to the blue whale, 100 million times heavier.
Other characteristics are just as variable – territories can be as large as the wolf’s 1,000km 2 or as small as the naked mole rat’s single burrow; lifespans range from our own 70-plus years to the pygmy shrew’s single season; mammals can be solitary, such as the orang-utan, or, like southern Africa’s springbok, move in herds of millions.
Mammals are warm-blooded (they can control their own body temperature) and the way their young develop is (almost) unique. Fertilisation occurs within the mother’s body, where the embryo also develops, attached to the mother by an umbilical cord. It is via this extraordinary organ that the embryo receives all the resources it requires.
As always, however, life doesn’t stick to the rules, and there are three surviving primitive mammals that lay eggs: the long and short-beaked echidnas and the platypus.
endangered big cat species in the world. Mammal Common Name: Amur Leopard Family: Felidae Latin Name: Panthera pardus orientalis
Asian golden cat
of Southeast Asia up into the Himalayas, sometimes up to 3,000 metres. Mammal Common Name: Asian Golden Cat Family:
), there are only about 175 mature Asian lions left in the wild. Mammal Common Name: Asian Lion Family: Felidae
of the genus Dasyprocta that lives in Central America, the West Indies, and South America. Mammal Common Name: Azara's
. Mammal Common Name: Barbary macaque Family: Ceropithecidae Latin Name: Macaca sylvanus Diet: Herbivore Type: Mammal Habitat: Woodlands Native To:
related to civets and genets. Mammal Common Name: Binturong Family: Viverridae Latin Name: Arctictis Binturong Diet: Carnivore Type: Mammal
Black howler monkey
in the trees. Mammal Common Name: Black howler monkey Family: Primate Latin Name: Alouatta caraya Diet: Herbivore Type: Mammal
and nearby regions. Mammal Common Name: Brown Capuchin Family: Primate Latin Name: Cebus apella Diet: Omnivore Type: Mammal Habitat:
forest, but sometimes also ranges into mixed bamboo and woodland forest. Mammal Common Name: Buff-cheeked gibbon Family: Primate Latin
Central Chinese goral
-eastern and central China. Mammal Common Name: Central Chinese Goral Family: Bovidae Latin Name: Naemorhedus caudatus arnouxianus Diet: Herbivore Type: