Which animals are mammals?

Lab activity: What makes a mammal?

In the past few weeks, we’ve covered aquatic mammals (dolphins), a semi-aquatic mammal (beaver), some terrestrial mammals (chimpanzee, tapir), and a mammal that flies (bat).

But what exactly is a mammal? It’s time for you to find out!

Do research about the group of animals called mammals. You can use books at home, visit your local library, or use online nature resources (like Mongabay Kids!). 

Use these questions as a guide:

  1. What characteristics (or traits) define a mammal? What makes a mammal different from a bird or an insect? What do baby mammals eat?
  2. How many types of mammals are known to science? 
  3. What do mammals look like? Mammals can be humongous (elephant, blue whale), teeny (shrews), and every size in between. They can have amazingly thick fur (otter) or be nearly hairless (hippo, naked mole rat). Draw a variety of different mammal species to show how different mammals can look.
  4. Where do mammals live? Are there any habitats where mammals are not found?
  5. What are your favorite mammals?
  6. Are humans mammals?

Challenge question: What are placental mammals, marsupials, and monotremes?

Tell your friends and family what you learned about mammals!