Class Mammalia - Teacher's Guide

Note: Mammal orders and classification change, and some books may have different answers depending on how current the book are. How detailed the answers and descriptions are depends on you.

There are two possible ways to have your students complete the chart - they can do it as an individual or group project where they use their books and other resources to find the answers, or they treat this chart as notes and you can talk about each group, who pictures and discuss as they fill in the table. I use the Mammal Powerpoint Presentation with this chart because there are some fantasic images of animals and short video clips that the students enjoy. This method does take some time though, plan for at least two days and perhaps more because students will ask a lot of questions and share stories about their own animal encounters. Mammals are just a popular topic!

Animal Order Description (special traits)
platypus Monotremata the only mammal that lays eggs, platypus are also the only mammals that are venomous echidna (spiny anteater)
cow Artiodactyla hoofed mammals with an ODD number of toes sheep, pigs, bison, deer
mouse Rodentia gnawing mammals, incisors continue to grow throughout their lives squirrels, rats, hamsters, ferrets
rabbit Lagomorpha

double row of incisors, hind legs adapted for hopping

*trivia: pikachu (pokemon) is modeled after a pika

hares, pika


bear Carnivora large canines, generally meat-eaters, the panda bear is an exception. Most carnivores are actually omnivores (bears, dogs, etc) raccoon, dog/wolf, tiger, lion, fox, bears, badgers
monkey Primate opposable thumbs, large brains, have social groups, use tools chimpanzee, human, gorilla, organgutan
dolphin Cetacea aquatic mammals, blowhole, echolocation dolphins, porpoises, whales
elephant Proboscidea have trunks, tusks, only found in Africa and Asia - two different species with slight differences in appearance (ear shape)

Asian Elephant

African Elephant

Animal Order Description (special traits) Members
kangaroo Marsupiala Young are born in an immature state and complete development in a pouch. Australia is home to all marsupials except the opossum Kangaroo, koala, wallaby, tasmanian devil
rhino Perissodactyla

Hoofed mammals with an even number of toes.

The rhino is an endangered species, was hunted for its horn, which is actually tightly wound hair.

Horses, zebras

Xenarthra (also edentata in some txts) also found as Order CINGULATA with xenarthra being a superorder

See: Armadillo

reduced or absent enamel on teeth, some have hardly no teeth at all (sloth) sloth, anteater
bat Chiroptera only flying mammals, the wings are actually skin stretched between their phalanges (fingers); also have echolocation for night hunting, some are important for flower fertilization (fruit bats) vampire bat, fruit bat, etc.
mole Insectivora Insect eating, digging mammals, teeth structure differs from rodents shrew
manatee Sirenia

Aquatic mammals, they do not have blowholes and are found near shorelines eating vegetation

*the name Sirenia comes from sailors who thought the animals were the sirens from greek mythology*

manatees are endangered because they are often hit by boats and they have very little fear of humans

manatees in N. Ameria

dugongs in Japan


These photos were in the ppt presentation, if students were paying attention, they might remember their names:
Sloth, Bandicoot, Tapir