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.

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What does "warm-blooded" mean?
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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.

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Related Questions

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Q:

    Are fish cold-blooded?

    A:

    Most fish are cold-blooded. “Cold-blooded" is a general term used to describe organisms that are unable to regulate their own body temperature. Instead, the organisms body temperature is solely affected by external temperatures, specifically the animals ambient surroundings.

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  • Q:

    Are insects cold-blooded?

    A:

    According to Cool Cosmos, with a few exceptions, insects are all cold blooded. A cold-blooded organism does not generate its own internal (body) heat.

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