Aquatic mammals are a group of about 120 species of mammals , that over time have adapted to sea life, depending on the physical space to feed and live.
This first characteristic is important, since in all cases it has evolved from a mammalian animal to an animal adapted to water, and not the other way around. Aquatic mammals are considered highly intelligent animals , and in many cases they are very coveted for different purposes: this is why they are often endangered species.
The physical characteristics of aquatic mammals show the capacity they have to survive in water, with different degrees of adaptation . In some cases the tail is transformed into a horizontal caudal fin, in others the bony skeleton acts as a dorsal fin. It is common that there are not too many hairs other than those of the head, and that the nostrils are opened in the upper part of the head to expel the water.
How do they breathe?
Most of these animals have an oxygen requirement similar to that of humans, with a very similar respiratory structure. They do not have lungs proportionally larger than those of the human being, but they have a greater blood volume: the vascular bed is proportionally larger, and evidently it serves as a reservoir of oxygenated blood. Within the blood, these mammals enjoy a greater proportion of red blood cells, giving the muscles a very dark color.
That mammalian animals are able to survive in water is a capacity that has impressed men since their existence on earth, so it has always sought to portray this class of animals, and have been included in stories and legends of diverse natures, granting him wonderful properties.
From the fifteenth century, stories of that kind gave way to hunting stories, and whales became a great attraction for that activity.
The following list shows some examples of mammalian animals capable of surviving in water.
Examples of aquatic mammals
- Whale: The largest animal on the planet. It lives in water, but its feeding occurs in the same way as mammals. The calves measure 7 meters and weigh 2 tons at birth.
- Dolphin: They have a fusiform body with a very large head. His coloring is usually gray, and he is able to use sounds, jumps and dances to communicate with the environment. This is why it is known as one of the most intelligent species.
- Manati .
- Walrus: Mammal of great size, in which according to the subspecies in question, many characteristics will change. The males shed their hair once a year, while the females may take longer.
- Beaver (genus Castor: There are three species throughout the earth. They are well known for their ability to make dykes by cutting trees, and for being a fearsome invasive species.
- Beluga .
- Orca: According to the group, it has well-defined characteristics. The families are led by a female who acts as head and mother, and the groups do not exceed ten individuals and can remain stable over time.
- Seal: They lack complete external ear, while their hind limbs are directed backwards, so they are not very good for the terrestrial displacement.
- Narval .
- Otter: Water is the medium where you feel most at ease, although it also defends well in the terrestrial environment.
- Sea lion: Only animal of the group of pinnipeds that has ears. Its appearance varies more than that of any other family according to age and sex: males have a very long and thick neck in relation to the rest of the body. They spend almost all the time in the sea, and they eat fish.
- Sperm whale .
- Platypus: It looks like a small animal, but it weighs a lot. It usually feeds on aquatic insects and their larvae, crustaceans and aquatic molluscs.
- Porpoise .
- Hippopotamus: A thick layer of fat under the skin protects it from the cold. Its open mouth can measure up to one meter, and lives during the day in the water: when it gets dark, it goes out and walks in search of its food.