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Marine mammals

Marine mammals include animals such as whales, dolphins, seals, manatee and dugongs. Watch Dr. Kathy Townsend explain more about them.

Animals belong to the Class Mammalia and can be found in every habitat, including marine, freshwater and terrestrial. Consisting of over 5,500 species, there are really only three orders within the class that contain ‘marine’ species. These include, Carnivora (seals, sea lions, polar bears, otters), Cetacea (whales and dolphins) and Sirenia (sea cows, such as manatee and dugongs)

Just like terrestrial mammals, marine mammals nourish young with milk, have hair, undergo internal fertilisation, have a four chambered heart and are endothermic (warm blooded). Because of these characteristics, living in marine environments are challenging for marine mammals. However, they have developed a wide range of adaptations that allow them to breath and maintain their body temperatures while living their lives out below water.

Have you ever seen a marine mammal in the wild? Let us know your story in the chat.

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Life Below Water: Conservation, Current Issues, Possible Solutions

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