Mammals and Reptiles - What is the Difference?

Mammals and Reptiles - What is the Difference?

If you have ever studied Biology or Zoology you know there are about a gazillion different types, species, and classes of animals. The easiest way to broach the subject is to divide them into categories then test yourself by checking with your 10-year old to see if you are right.

  • Let us start by differentiating between mammals and reptiles.
  • Mammals
  • Have a backbone or spine. They call these mammals vertebrates.
  • They are “warm-blooded,” also called endothermic. Being endothermic means they can regulate their body temperature which means they can live almost anywhere on Earth.
  • Mammals are covered with fur or hair.
  • This is a biggy. Mammals produce milk for their babies. Like with humans, this allows mammals to stay with their young and instruct them on important life skills so they can survive once they are on their own.

Interesting facts: There are over 4,000 species of mammals with the smallest bat which weighs less than one-half an ounce to the largest blue whale which can weigh up to 150 tons. Obviously, mammals can live on land or in water.


  • Also have a spine.
  • Are “cold-blooded,” also called ectothermic. Ectothermic animals cannot adjust their own body temperature. They depend on sunlight to become warm and active. When they get too warm, they seek shade or a rock to hide under to help them cool down.
  • They have scales over their entire body
  • They breath using their lungs

Interesting facts: Many reptiles stay on land but some like alligators and crocodiles spend much of their time in the water. Reptiles exist everywhere except in very cold regions like the tundra. Now it is quiz time so go check with your friends and give them the old mammal vs reptile test.

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