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Mammal vs. Reptile: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Mammals are warm-blooded animals with fur or hair and mammary glands; reptiles are cold-blooded, with scales and lay eggs.
Mammal vs. Reptile

Key Differences

Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates characterized by the presence of mammary glands, which they use to feed their young. In contrast, reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that generally lay eggs, and they have scaly skin that helps them regulate their body temperature.
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A key feature of mammals is their fur or hair, which provides insulation and aids in body heat retention. Reptiles, on the other hand, lack this feature and have scales covering their bodies, offering protection and aid in moisture retention.
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Mammals have a well-developed brain, especially the cerebral cortex, which is associated with complex behaviors and learning. Reptiles possess a simpler brain structure, which results in more instinctual and less complex behavior patterns compared to mammals.
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In terms of reproduction, most mammals give birth to live young, a process known as viviparity. Reptiles predominantly lay eggs (oviparity), although some species are capable of giving birth to live young.
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Mammals breathe using diaphragms, a unique muscular structure, enhancing lung efficiency. Reptiles breathe using other methods, such as rib movements, and generally have less efficient respiratory systems compared to mammals.
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Comparison Chart

Blood Temperature

Warm-blooded; maintain constant body temperature
Cold-blooded; body temperature varies with the environment
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Skin Type

Fur or hair; provides insulation
Scales; aids in protection and moisture retention
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Reproduction

Mostly viviparous; give birth to live young
Mostly oviparous; lay eggs, some are viviparous
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Brain Structure

Complex brain, especially the cerebral cortex
Simpler brain, more instinctual behavior
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Respiratory System

Use diaphragms for efficient breathing
Less efficient, often use rib movements
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Mammal and Reptile Definitions

Mammal

A warm-blooded vertebrate with hair or fur, and mammary glands.
The kangaroo, a mammal, carries its young in a pouch.
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Reptile

Cold-blooded vertebrates typically laying eggs, with scaly skin.
Snakes, as reptiles, lay eggs and have scaly skin.
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Mammal

Animals capable of regulating their body temperature internally.
Dolphins, being mammals, can maintain their body heat in cold water.
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Reptile

Creatures often exhibiting oviparous reproduction, laying eggs.
Crocodiles, typical reptiles, lay eggs in sandy nests.
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Mammal

Vertebrates with a distinct gestation period, giving birth to live young.
Elephants have a long gestation period, typical of large mammals.
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Reptile

Animals with a body temperature that changes with their surroundings.
Lizards, being reptiles, bask in the sun to warm up.
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Mammal

Creatures possessing a four-chambered heart.
The human heart, like that of all mammals, has four chambers.
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Reptile

Vertebrates that breathe using rib movements or other methods.
Turtles, reptiles by nature, use their ribs to assist in breathing.
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Mammal

Any of various warm-blooded vertebrate animals of the class Mammalia, including humans, characterized by a covering of hair on the skin and, in the female, milk-producing mammary glands for nourishing the young.
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Reptile

Species characterized by their ecological roles as predators or herbivores.
The iguana, a reptile, primarily feeds on plant materials.
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Mammal

An animal of the class Mammalia, characterized by being warm-blooded, having hair and producing milk with which to feed its young.
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Reptile

Any of various usually cold-blooded egg-laying vertebrates often grouped in the class Reptilia, having dry skin covered with scales or horny plates and breathing by means of lungs, and including the snakes, lizards, crocodilians, and turtles. In some classification systems, birds are considered to be reptiles because they are descended from reptilian dinosaurs.
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Mammal

(paleontology) A vertebrate with three bones in the inner ear and one in the jaw.
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Reptile

A person regarded as contemptible or obsequious.
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Mammal

One of the Mammalia.
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Reptile

(strictly) A cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia; an amniote that is neither a synapsid nor a bird; excludes amphibians.
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Mammal

Any warm-blooded vertebrate having the skin more or less covered with hair; young are born alive except for the small subclass of monotremes and nourished with milk
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Reptile

A reptile or amphibian.
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Mammal

Species characterized by the presence of mammary glands for feeding offspring.
The cow, a mammal, feeds its calves with milk from its mammary glands.
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Reptile

(figuratively) A mean or grovelling person.
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Reptile

Creeping; moving on the belly, or by means of small and short legs.
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Reptile

Grovelling; low; vulgar.
A reptile race or crew
Reptile vices
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Reptile

Creeping; moving on the belly, or by means of small and short legs.
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Reptile

Hence: Groveling; low; vulgar; as, a reptile race or crew; reptile vices.
There is also a false, reptile prudence, the result not of caution, but of fear.
And dislodge their reptile soulsFrom the bodies and forms of men.
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Reptile

An animal that crawls, or moves on its belly, as snakes,, or by means of small, short legs, as lizards, and the like.
An inadvertent step may crush the snailThat crawls at evening in the public path;But he that has humanity, forewarned,Will tread aside, and let the reptile live.
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Reptile

One of the Reptilia, or one of the Amphibia.
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Reptile

A groveling or very mean person.
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Reptile

Any cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia including tortoises turtles snakes lizards alligators crocodiles and extinct forms
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Do all mammals have fur or hair?

Yes, all mammals have some form of fur or hair at some stage of their life.
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Are all mammals warm-blooded?

Yes, all mammals are warm-blooded.
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Are reptiles always cold-blooded?

Yes, reptiles are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature varies with the environment.
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Are mammals more intelligent than reptiles?

Generally, mammals have more complex brains and exhibit more complex behaviors.
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Do reptiles have scales?

Yes, reptiles are characterized by their scaly skin.
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Can mammals lay eggs?

Most mammals give birth to live young, but a few, like the platypus, lay eggs.
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Do reptiles give birth to live young?

Some reptiles do give birth to live young, although most lay eggs.
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What kind of environments can reptiles inhabit?

Reptiles can live in a wide range of environments, from deserts to rainforests.
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How do reptiles regulate their body temperature?

Reptiles regulate their temperature through behavioral means, like basking in the sun.
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What is a unique feature of mammal reproduction?

Mammals have mammary glands to feed their young.
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Are mammals social animals?

Many mammals are social, but this varies widely among species.
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Can reptiles hear well?

Reptile hearing abilities vary, but many have a good sense of hearing.
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Are all reptiles carnivorous?

No, reptiles have varied diets; some are carnivorous, others are herbivores or omnivores.
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Is parental care common in mammals?

Yes, most mammals exhibit some form of parental care.
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Do mammals have a specialized diet?

Mammals have varied diets, from strictly herbivorous to carnivorous.
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Are reptiles found in cold climates?

Reptiles are less common in cold climates due to their cold-blooded nature.
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Can reptiles live in both water and land?

Many reptiles are adapted to live in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.
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Do mammals have a specific type of heart?

Yes, mammals have a four-chambered heart.
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Do reptiles have good eyesight?

Reptile vision varies widely; some have excellent vision, while others do not.
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How do mammals maintain their body temperature?

Mammals use internal mechanisms like metabolism and external insulation like fur.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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