Q:

What does "warm-blooded" mean?

A:

Quick Answer

"Warm-blooded" is used to describe animals that generate their own heat. Warm-blooded creatures are often called ectotherms. Mammals and birds are warm-blooded; reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded.

Know More
What does "warm-blooded" mean?
Credit: Juan Antonio F. Segal Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Reptiles and other cold-blooded animals must draw heat form the environment, and they are slower and less active when the temperature drops. They also have a slower metabolism, which is why they often spend long periods of time resting. However, being cold-blooded has an advantage: they do not have to eat as much as their warm-blooded counterparts.

In exchange for their more robust dietary demands, warm-blooded animals are able to cope with a broader range of environmental conditions, but hotter weather is often a greater threat than cold weather. Warm-blooded creatures are able to move at a faster rate of speed than cold-blooded ones. This is part of the reason why mammals and birds can migrate long distances.

Some creatures, however, are not clearly warm-blooded or cold-blooded. The dinosaurs, in particular, seem to straddle this gap. If they were strictly cold-blooded, they would have been far slower than most experts believe. If they were warm-blooded, their dietary needs would have been more than most think is realistic. While there is still a considerable amount of debate, many experts now believe that dinosaurs were neither truly warm-blooded nor cold-blooded.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between an ectotherm and an endotherm?

    A:

    Endotherms produce their own heat; ectotherms rely on environmental heat. Most ectotherms are cold-blooded while most endotherms are warm-blooded, but there are exceptions. Mammals are endotherms, and reptiles and amphibians are ectotherms.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some examples of cold blooded animals?

    A:

    Some examples of cold blooded animals are snakes, fish, crocodiles, lizards, frogs and turtles. As a general rule, most amphibians, reptiles and fish are cold blooded. Cold blooded animals cannot maintain their body temperature by themselves. Their body temperature depends on their environment.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What animal has thick feathers?

    A:

    The snowy owl of the Arctic tundra has thick feathers to keep it warm when temperatures are extremely low. These birds live year-round in Alaska, Canada, northern Europe, Russia and Greenland. However, snowy owls can sometimes travel to southern Canada or the northern United States if winter prey is scarce.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are birds cold blooded?

    A:

    Birds are warm-blooded. Warm-blooded animals are those that can generate enough body heat to regulate their own temperatures, rather than relying on the ambient environment for heat as in scaly reptiles, amphibians or most fish. Birds belong to one of the two broad groups of animals that are warm-blooded.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore