A mammal is a vertebrate that feed its young on the mother milk, and breathes through lungs, and lives on land. Also, they have larger brains than other animals. Monkeys, Primates, and Dolphins, are the smartest animals. There are some more descriptions but you probably know already. There are about 4,000 species of mammals and many of them live in the rainforests. Some of which are the jaguar, monkeys, and river dolphins. Many people wouldn't expect dolphins to live in the Amazon River, but they do. Baby dolphins are born gray but the older they get the pinker they get. Adults are a beautiful shade of light pink. If you like pink, they would be beautiful. The natives refer to this fishy mammal as "boto." It means river dolphin in their language.
Jaguars are known to be the "king of the jungle" in the place of the lion. (Since there are no lions in the Amazon.) they are called this because of their quick movements and fierce eating habits. Amazonian Indians tell of jaguars emerging from the forest to play with the village children. This may not be true but it is part of the native myth. Many times, jaguars are hunted because of their spotted coat of fur. Luckily, several South American countries are planning to protect some of the jaguar's rainforest habitat.
There are about 200 species of monkeys. Most of them live in tropical regions in Central and South America. Spider monkeys are well known in the Amazon, and spend most of their time hanging from tree branches in the canopy, and emergent layer. These monkeys have long tails, and belong to the New World species. Another mammal is the Hyrax. A Hyrax is about as big as a guinea pig but is surprisingly a relative of the elephant!
The 2 main types of mammals are carnivores, and herbivores. Most mammals are herbivores. Some carnivorous mammals are the jaguar, and the "boto." There are more than 2 groups though. Mammals that eat insects are called insectivorous. Bats, and anteaters are insectivorous. Some mammals do eat both though. Peccaries, Opossums, and humans, belong to this group. They are called Omnivorous.
Almost all mammals have at least 7 bones in their neck. They have the basic organ systems like humans. Some vary depending on their environment, body, needs, and history. The basic systems are the circulatory, digestive, skeletal, nervous, reproductive, muscular, endocrine, immune, and respiratory.
They (mammals still) live in a variety of habitats; the ground, the trees, the air, even the water. The most surprising mammal in the Amazon is the "boto." But, it is there and we should keep it there too.
Mammals play an important role in the Amazon. Some such as monkeys are used in scientific research. Mammals can live anywhere- from the United States, to the Amazon. You may not think about it but even some pets are mammals.
Ocelot shown at right.
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