Mammals are one of the most abundant animal groups in the world. Cats, dogs, lions, tigers, elephants, and horses are some examples of mammals.
There are several classes in the animal kingdom which divide organisms based on their characteristics. One of these is mammals.
This article lists the top 15 most well-known mammals in the world.
What Are Mammals?
Mammals belong to a class of vertebrates called Mammalia. Animals in the Mammalia class have five characteristics and features that distinguish them from other animals:
- Hair or fur
- Most are born alive
- The young feed on milk produced by the mother’s mammary glands
- Have a neocortex (part of the brain)
The most important characteristic among mammals is the presence of mammary glands in females, which produce milk.
Mammals give birth to their babies instead of laying eggs like other species, with a few exceptions of the platypus and echidna.
There are also some other minor features, such as the fact that mammals are often sexually dimorphic (males and females look different), and more.
List of Mammals
Dogs are one of the most common domesticated animals in the world. They are kept as pets due to their loving nature and protectiveness. They are descendants of wolves and were first domesticated in 14,000 BC.
These animals belong to the Mammalia order of Carnivora, which includes other carnivores.
Dogs are mammals and give birth to their offspring. Female dogs also feed their babies milk from their teats for six to seven weeks.
2. Domestic Cats
Cats are found in almost every part of the world. Domesticated cats are also popular pets alongside dogs. They are carnivores and eat meat for most of their nutrition.
They are also part of the Carnivora order, but their family is that of Felidae, which includes other cat-like animals (such as cheetahs, lions, and others).
Cats have excellent night vision, which helps them comfortably navigate their way around rooms in the dark. They are great at hunting small birds and mammals due to their predator instincts.
3. Blue Whales
Blue whales are the largest animals in the world. They have an average length of 98 feet and weigh up to 199 tons, making them the heaviest animal in the world.
Blue whales are carnivorous baleen whales that feed on small crustaceans such as krill for their diet. They usually hunt near the poles in summer and migrate to warmer waters in winter near the tropics for mating.
They belong to the Balaenopteridae family and are classified as endangered by the IUCN. They were almost hunted to extinction until their hunting was banned in 1966 by the International Whaling Commission.
Elephants are the world’s largest and heaviest terrestrial animals. There are three types of elephants in the world:
- African bush elephant
- Asian elephant
- African forest elephant
Elephants have long trunks, which they use to breathe, drink water, and pick up things. They also have large flaps for ears and tusks.
The African bush elephant is the largest elephant breed in the world. They weigh more than 10 tons and reach a height of 13 feet. They are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. The males are larger than the females and do not stay with the herd.
Female elephants and young males live in large groups and only meet adult male elephants during the breeding season.
Sloths are one of the slowest-moving animals in the world. These medium-sized mammals are found in central and south America.
Sloths spend most of their lives hanging upside down in trees. Their diet consists primarily of leaves that are low in energy. This is why sloths move around so little.
They are completely helpless on the ground, so they prefer living on trees. Despite their slow speed on the ground, sloths are excellent swimmers.
Chimpanzees are the closest living relative of humans. They have a 98.4% DNA homology with Homo Sapiens. They are found in central Africa and belong to the ape family of Hominidae.
They are part of the Primates order along with humans, bonobos, monkeys, and gorillas. Chimpanzees are also one of the smartest animals in the world. They have been known to use tools, including sticks and stones.
Illegal poaching is one of the biggest reasons why chimps are classified as endangered by the IUCN.
The cheetah is the fastest animal in the world. It can reach speeds up to 75 miles per hour and uses this speed to catch prey.
Antelopes, hares, and young wildebeests are the most common targets of cheetahs.
They are native to Iran and Africa and equipped with long slender bodies, thin legs, long tails, and excellent eyesight. The average length of a cheetah is around 4 to 5 feet, excluding the tail.
Cheetahs are members of the Felidae family and are closely related to jaguars and pumas. They have a distinctive yellow coat with black spots, which helps them camouflage themselves and stalk their prey.
Lions live in large groups called Prides. A pride consists of a few males, females, and cubs. They do not have any natural predators but are often threatened by other lions.
Female lions hunt, while males protect their pride from other invaders. The average length of a lion is around 75 to 80 inches.
Hippos are among the largest terrestrial animals. They are semi-aquatic animals native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are closely related to cetaceans, including whales and dolphins.
Hippos have short legs and large bodies. Their mouth contains large canines, which they use to fend off attackers and fight for mates. They can run at speeds of up to 19 miles per hour and weigh around 3,000 lbs.
Hippos live near rivers and lakes, where they spend most of their time in water or grazing. They are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to poaching and habitat loss.
Horses are hoofed mammals found in most parts of the world. They are highly domesticated and are commonly used for transportation. They belong to the order Perissodactyla also known as odd-toed ungulates.
Horses are herbivores and eat grass. They have a great sense of balance and are known for their speed. The average size of a horse is around 50 to 60 inches, with some breeds reaching heights of up to 75 inches.
Horses are loosely divided into three categories:
- Cold blood (for slow and heavy work)
- Hot blood (for speed and endurance)
- Warm blood (a cross between cold and hot blood)
Bats are the only known mammal capable of proper flight. There are several types of bats found in the wild:
- Giant golden-crowned flying fox
- Hoary bat
- Big brown bat
- Leaf-nosed bat
- Vampire bats
- Bumblebee bat
- Horseshoe bat
- Sac-winged bat
- Funnel-eared bat
The giant golden-crowned flying fox is the largest bat in the world, with a wingspan of up to 67 inches. Bats are the second largest order of mammals after rodents and include more than 1400 species.
Bats are nocturnal and use echolocation for hunting their prey in the dark.
Bears are omnivorous mammals found in several parts of the world. They have large bodies, long snouts, and stocky legs. They also have five long claws on their hands.
Polar bears are the largest bear species in the world.
Bears usually rely on meat for their nutrition but also eat fruits, mushrooms, and berries. Sun bears are the smallest bear species and have an average length of 40 to 55 inches.
13. Red Kangaroos
Kangaroos are large marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea.
Some of the most common types of kangaroos are as follows:
- Western gray kangaroo
- Antilopine kangaroo
- Red kangaroo
- Eastern gray kangaroo
The red kangaroo is the largest of all the kangaroos and is native to mainland Australia. They are sexually dimorphic, with males reaching a body length of around 60 inches while females are smaller at 40 inches, excluding the tail.
Red kangaroos are red-brown in color and thrive in dry areas such as grasslands, drylands, and savannas. They are herbivores and mainly eat grass and plants.
14. Duck-Billed Platypuses
Platypuses are semi-aquatic mammals native to Tasmania and Eastern Australia. They are one of the few mammals in the world that lay eggs instead of giving birth to babies. They hunt via electrolocation, which allows them to detect prey nearby using electrical stimuli.
Male duck-billed platypuses have a spur on their hind foot that contains venom. This venom causes serious pain to humans, which is why it must be avoided.
Platypuses live in streams and other bodies of water, eating worms, small crustaceans, and larvae. They are classified as near threatened by the IUCN.
15. Common Bottlenose Dolphins
Dolphins are aquatic mammals found in oceans around the world, except for the polar regions. They belong to the order Cetacea. There are around 40 distinct species of dolphins.
Common bottlenose dolphins are the largest beaked dolphins and are often kept in captivity in dolphinariums. They are sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger than the females.
Male common bottlenose dolphins reach a size of around 8 to 11 feet, while females reach a size of 6 to 9 feet. These dolphins have a short snout that resembles a gin bottle giving the mammal its name.
They are highly intelligent animals and have been known to solve problems, learn, and follow commands.
All living organisms are divided into several groups according to their varying characteristics. Some are invertebrates, some have different physical features, and others have mammary glands.
Mammalia is the largest class of animals in the world. They include rodents, primates, carnivores, bats, and ungulates. The females give birth to the young and feed them milk for the first stage of their lives.
Most mammals are sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger than the females. Cats, dogs, horses, cows, pigs, mice, and several other animals are mammals.
What Are Some Names of Mammals Ending With Vowels?
Zebra, mouse, hyena, hare, and moose are some mammal names ending with vowels. Kangaroos and horses are other mammals whose names end with vowels.
What Are the Names of Mammals Starting With S?
Mammals that start with the letter S include sheep, saiga, sable, saint Bernard, Samoyed, sea lion, sea otter, Shiba, Inu, seal, and skunk.
How Many Types of Mammal Genera Are There?
There are approximately 1,314 known mammal genera in the world. This number is subject to change due to the constant categorization and recategorization of species.