Characteristics :

  • Have a backbone
  • Have hair as a body covering and a layer of fat beneath skin
  • Are warm-blooded, or more appropriately, endothermic; they generate and maintain their body temperature
  • Females have mammary glands that produce milk for their young
  • Most are born rather than hatched and the embryo develops within the uterus of the mother; echidnas and platypuses are the only egg laying mammals
  • Have a four-chambered heart with complete separation of blood going to lungs and blood going to other body cells
  • Have a well-developed brain
  • Have several kinds of teeth for biting, chewing, and grinding
  • Breather with well-developed lungs; have a diaphragm muscle to aid breathing
  • Kingdom: Animalia
    • Phylum: Chordata
      • Class: Mammalia
        • Order: Artiodactyla (deer, elk), Carnivora (bears, cats, dogs, otters, weasels), Cetacea (dolphins, porposies, whales), Chiroptera (bats), Edentata (anteaters, armadillos, sloths), Insectivora (moles, shrews), Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares), Marsupialia (oppossums, kangaroos, koalas), Monotremata (echidnas, platypuses), Perissodactyla (horses, rhinoceroses, zebras), Primates (apes, humans, lemurs, monkeys), Proboscidea (elephants), Rodentia (beavers, mice, rats, squirrels), Sirenia (manatees)
Student Challenge:
  • Make a dichotomous key for the mammals found in Kentucky. You can use this site for a quick lesson on how to make a dichotomous key: Illustrate your key with photos or sketches.
  • Choose five mammals found in a zoo near you, or find an electronic zoo on the internet. Determin whether each of those mammals could survive in a nautral exosystem in Kentucky. Justify your answer for each of them and show documentation of your socures of infromation. What impact would each of these mammals have on the ecosystem if it were introduced into the wild? Develop a pamphlet explaining the effects of non-native animals on natural ecosystems.