Animals in the class Mammalia, or mammals are arguably some of the more complex animals in the animal kingdom. Humans are mammals after all! Mammals are different from other types of animals and are warm blooded, fur/hair bearing, milk producing animals. In this article, we will cover several examples of mammals.
But first, let’s learn a little bit more about what it means to be a mammal.
What is a mammal?
A mammal is a warm-blooded vertebrate that breathes air. Most mammals are terrestrial, often have fur or hair, and have more complex brains than other types of animals. Mammals nurse their babies and almost always give birth to live young, but there are some exceptions.
There are an estimated 130 billion mammals throughout the world today. Mammals and birds are the only warm blooded vertebrates on the planet. The largest mammal on earth, the blue whale, is on this list of examples of mammals.
30 examples of mammals
Scientific name: Canis lupus familiarlis
In addition to ourselves, many of us have a mammal or two living in our house! Dogs, descended from wolves, are common house pets in households virtually all over the world. Dogs make great pets due to their affinity for human companionship and intelligence.
Scientific name: Procyon lotor
Known for their love of raiding trash cans and dumpsters, Raccoons are also very smart and quick witted mammals. Raccoons are found throughout most of North America. These adorable little furry creatures can have quite the attitude and can make an alarming growling sound when agitated.
3. Virginia Opossum
Scientific name: Didelphis virginiana
The Virginia Opossum more commonly referred to as just opossum can be found throughout most of Eastern America as well as along the Western coast of the US. Virginia Opossums are America’s only marsupial and carry their babies in a pouch. Once the babies grow to be a bit bigger, mother opossums will carry them on their backs- sometimes carrying a half dozen or more!
Scientific name: Alces alces
Moose fall into the same taxonomic superfamily as deer, making them the largest and heaviest species of deer. Despite their large size, these giants are strictly vegetarians and eat both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. Moose roam the northern hemisphere and can be found in Canada and Northern US, as well as Northern Europe and Asia.
5. Blue Whale
Scientific name: Balaenoptera musculus
Most people associate mammals with being land-dwelling animals, but that is not always the case. The Blue Whale is actually the largest mammal in the world, sometimes growing up to 100 feet long! Blue Whales live in all oceans aside from the Arctic ocean.
6. Flying Fox
Scientific name: Pteropus spp.
Flying isn’t just for birds, but mammals too! There are several species of Flying Fox, which are very large, frugivorous fruit eating bats. Bats are one of the few examples of mammals that can fly. They get their name from the rusty, fox-colored fur on their chest. Flying Foxes are distributed throughout Asia, Australia and East Africa.
7. American black bear
Scientific name: Ursus americanus
The American black bear can be found throughout much of, you guessed it, America as well as almost entirely throughout Canada. Despite these bears being found in similar ranges to Grizzly Bears and Polar Bears, they are actually more closely related to bear species found in Asia.
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Scientific name: Panthera leo
The Lion, an iconic animal in the animal kingdom as well as in the Disney franchise, is known for being an apex predator. These giant cats will chase down their prey with ease, however most of the hunting is left to the females. Lions are found scattered throughout Africa outside of the Saharan desert.
Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibious
The Hippopotamus, also referred to as the Hippo, is arguably one of the world’s most dangerous animals. They are known to have a fierce temper and little patience when it comes to people getting too close to them. Hippos have been impacted by habitat loss and are found in small, scattered distributions throughout Subsaharan Africa near rivers and water bodies.
Scientific name: Canis latrans
Coyotes are a close relative to Wolves but are certainly a lot more common than their relatives. They are found virtually all throughout North America and are considered to be niche generalists due to the fact that they can adapt to almost anywhere and they are not picky eaters! Coyotes have even managed to find a home in busy cities.
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11. Asian Elephant
Scientific name: Elephas maxima
The Asian Elephant is slightly smaller than it’s African relatives. Asian Elephants are endangered and have sadly been heavily impacted by deforestation and habitat loss. These elephants are native to India and Southeast Asia however their populations are shrinking. Elephants live in herds and are very protective of their families.
12. Harbor Seal
Scientific name: Phoca vitulina
The Harbor Seal, otherwise known as the Common Seal, is a species of pinniped that is widely distributed along coastlines in the Northern Hemisphere. Harbor Seals can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific, Baltic and North Seas. They can often be found in large groups laying out on rocky patches along the coast.
13. North American Beaver
Scientific name: Castor canadensis
The North American Beaver is actually a large semi-aquatic rodent, only somewhat distantly related to other species of rodents like rats and gophers. These Beavers are found in riparian areas all throughout Canada, America and even northern Mexico. They are the state mammal of both Oregon and New York.
14. White-tailed Deer
Scientific name: Odocoileus virginianus
The most common type of deer and more commonly spotted mammals in the United States is the White-tailed deer. However, this species can also be found in central and northern South America and they have also been introduced to New Zealand as well as the Caribbean and parts of Europe. They are well adapted to living in all sorts of habitats and conditions.
Scientific name: Phascolarctos cinereus
The Koala, also known as the Koala Bear is not actually related to bears at all but is instead a marsupial found in Australia. These cute, furry creatures carry their young in a pouch for several months after giving birth. They live a very lazy lifestyle and may sleep up to 20 hours per day! These animals are true herbivores.
16. White Rhinocerous
Scientific name: Ceratotherium simum
The White Rhinoceros or Rhino is the largest species of Rhino. There are actually two sub-species, the Northern White Rhino and Southern White Rhino. The Northern subspecies is incredibly rare and there are very few individuals left due to excessive poaching. White Rhinos are found mostly in the southern tip of Africa.
17. Bottlenose Dolphin
Scientific name: Tursiops truncatus
Bottlenose Dolphins are beloved marine mammals known for their intelligence and social nature. They are found in warm, tropical and temperate waters all around the world. Due to their smarts, the military has managed to train Bottlenose Dolphins to locate underwater mines.
18. Silverback Gorilla
Scientific name: Gorilla gorilla beringei
Gorillas are one of my favorite examples of mammals. These great apes are well-known by animal lovers but are actually the rarest and most endangered species of Gorilla. They inhabit forests and rainforests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. Unfortunately, Silverbacks are threatened by poachers and habitat loss.
19. North American Porcupine
Scientific name: Erethizon dorsatum
Only second in size to the North American Beaver, the North American Porcupine is a large rodent found in North America. They are infamous for their large quills or spines that help deter predators. These rodents are most commonly found in mixed or coniferous forests.
20. Prairie Dog
Scientific name: Cynomys spp.
There are actually five species of Prairie Dog, all of which are found in North America. Prairie Dogs are technically a type of Ground Squirrel and live in more arid areas in the Western and Southwestern United States as well as Mexico. They are incredibly social animals and form large colonies.
21. Three-toed Sloth
Scientific name: Bradypus spp.
Three-toed sloths are arboreal mammals found in tropical forests in Central and South America. They are incredibly slow moving, chugging along at a measly 0.15 miles per hour! Despite spending most of their time up in the trees, Three-toed sloths are actually great swimmers.
22. Polar Bear
Scientific name: Ursus maritimus
The Polar Bear is a large species of bear, well-known for surviving the harsh environment of the Arctic circle. Their white fur allows for them to blend in with the ice and snow in the tundra. Climate change is likely at least partially to blame for decreasing populations due to ice loss, meaning the bears have to swim further and further between ice masses.
Scientific name: Panthera tigris
Tigers, the largest cat species in the world, are fierce predators that roam the forests and jungles of India and Southeast Asia. They are easily recognized by their black stripes on bright, orange fur. Tiger populations are rapidly declining due to habitat loss and poaching. Tigers are considered an apex predator within their ecosystem and play a vital role in maintaining the population of their prey.
Scientific name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
When it comes to mammals, Platypuses are certainly the odd ones out. They have a duck shaped beak or bill, they give birth by laying eggs, and they are actually venomous! Male platypus have a spur on their back foot that they can use to envenomate predators. These odd creatures are found near water bodies in Eastern Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.
Scientific name: Tamias striatus
Chipmunks are adorable, pocket-sized mammals that can be found all throughout the Eastern United States and Southern Canada. They live in wooded areas, but are also able to survive in more suburban or urban areas. They have flexible cheek pouches that allow them to stuff their face full of nuts, seeds, fruits and insects.
26. Snowshoe Hare
Scientific name: Lepus americanus
The Snowshoe Hare is a species of rabbit named after it’s extremely large back legs that act as snowshoes to prevent them from sinking down into deep snow. They are found in in temperate regions in the United States as well as Canada where they prefer boreal forests with plenty of cover on the ground in the form of shrubs and bushes.
27. Red Fox
Scientific name: Vulpes vulpes
The Red Fox is a widely distributed mid-sized omnivore. There are 45 subspecies of Red Fox that are found in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and they have even been introduced in Australia. These animals are incredibly adaptable and can thrive in a diverse range of habitat types. In fact, Red Foxes are incredibly common in the busy city of London.
28. Ring-tailed Lemur
Scientific name: Lemur catta
If you have seen the popular children’s movie Madagascar, then you are most likely familiar with the Ring-tailed Lemur, aptly named for the black rings down their tail. These primates are incredibly social animals and form groups are large as 30 individuals strong. Like all other Lemurs, they are only found in Madagascar.
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus
The Reindeer, also known as Caribou, is not just a character in Christmas stories but is a real animal found in polar regions of North America, Europe and Asia. They are related to other ungulates like Moose or Deer. Reindeer travel in large herds and often make long migrations each year.
30. Killer Whale
Scientific name: Orcinus orca
Killer Whales, or Orcas are actually more closely related to dolphins than other whales. They are excellent hunters and will work with other individuals to take down prey. Killer Whales have been known to hunt sea birds, other marine mammals like seals, dolphins and other whales, and even terrestrial mammals that venture close to the shore. They are found virtually throughout all oceans and seas.