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Mammals vs. Amphibians: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 17, 2024
Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates with fur or hair and mammary glands, while amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that live in water and on land, typically with moist skin and no scales.

Key Differences

Mammals are characterized by their warm-blooded nature, maintaining a constant body temperature. Amphibians, in contrast, are cold-blooded and rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature.
A defining feature of mammals is the presence of mammary glands for feeding young. Amphibians do not have mammary glands; their young typically undergo metamorphosis from larvae to adults.
Mammals usually have fur or hair covering their bodies, providing insulation and protection. Amphibians are known for their moist, scaleless skin, which aids in gas exchange and moisture absorption.
In terms of reproduction, most mammals give birth to live young. Amphibians generally lay eggs in water, with offspring initially living as aquatic larvae.
Mammals have a diverse range of habitats, from terrestrial to aquatic environments. Amphibians typically have a life cycle that includes both aquatic and terrestrial phases, needing moist environments.

Comparison Chart

Body Temperature

Warm-blooded, maintaining constant temperature
Cold-blooded, dependent on environment

Skin Type

Fur or hair-covered
Moist, scaleless skin


Mostly live birth
Lay eggs, with aquatic larval stage

Young Nurturing

Mammary glands for feeding young
No mammary glands; undergo metamorphosis

Habitat Range

Diverse, including land and water
Require moist environments, both land and water

Mammals and Amphibians Definitions


Mammals are vertebrates with hair or fur and mammary glands.
The kangaroo, a mammal, carries its young in a pouch.


Amphibians typically undergo metamorphosis from a larval stage to adulthood.
Tadpoles metamorphose into adult frogs, a characteristic of amphibians.


Mammals are known for giving birth to live young.
Dolphins, as mammals, give birth to live offspring.


They have moist, permeable skin for respiration.
Salamanders, amphibians, breathe through their moist skin.


Most mammals are terrestrial, though some are aquatic.
Whales, though aquatic, are classified as mammals.


Amphibians are sensitive to environmental changes due to their permeable skin.
Amphibians like toads are indicators of environmental health.


They are characterized by a four-chambered heart.
The human heart, like that of all mammals, has four chambers.


They are known for their ability to live both in water and on land.
Newts, a type of amphibian, live in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.


Mammals have three middle ear bones.
The unique middle ear bones distinguish mammals from other animals.


Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates with a life cycle in water and on land.
Frogs, as amphibians, lay their eggs in water.


Any of various warm-blooded vertebrate animals of the class Mammalia, including humans, characterized by a covering of hair on the skin and, in the female, milk-producing mammary glands for nourishing the young.


Any of various cold-blooded, usually smooth-skinned vertebrates of the class Amphibia, characteristically hatching as an aquatic larva with gills and then transforming into an adult having air-breathing lungs. Frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians are amphibians.


Plural of mammal


An animal capable of living both on land and in water.


An aircraft that can take off and land on either land or water.


A tracked or wheeled vehicle that can operate both on land and in water.


Plural of amphibian


Are mammals cold-blooded or warm-blooded?

Mammals are warm-blooded, meaning they maintain a constant body temperature.

Do all mammals have hair or fur?

Yes, all mammals have some form of hair or fur, though it varies greatly in amount and type.

Do all mammals give live birth?

Most do, but some, like the platypus and echidna, lay eggs.

How do amphibians reproduce?

Most lay eggs in water, where their larvae (like tadpoles) live before transforming into land-dwelling adults.

What defines a mammal?

Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates with hair or fur, who typically give birth to live young and nurse them with milk.

How do mammals breathe?

Mammals breathe air using lungs.

How long do mammals live?

Lifespans vary greatly, from a few years in small rodents to over 200 years in some whales.

Are humans classified as mammals?

Yes, humans are mammals.

What is the largest mammal?

The blue whale is the largest mammal, and the largest animal ever known to have existed.

What do mammals eat?

Mammal diets vary widely, from strictly herbivorous to carnivorous, and many are omnivorous.

Are amphibians cold-blooded?

Yes, amphibians are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature changes with their environment.

Can any mammals fly?

Yes, bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight.

What defines an amphibian?

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that spend part of their life in water and part on land.

What are the three main types of amphibians?

The three main types are frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, and caecilians.

What do amphibians eat?

Most are carnivorous as adults, eating insects and small animals, but larvae are often herbivorous.

What role do amphibians play in the ecosystem?

Amphibians are important for controlling insect populations and as a food source for other animals, and they are indicators of environmental health.

How do amphibians adapt to their environment?

They have permeable skin for gas exchange and typically have a life cycle that includes both aquatic and terrestrial stages.

What is the largest amphibian?

The Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian, reaching lengths of up to 1.8 meters (6 feet).

Can amphibians breathe underwater?

Many can breathe through their skin or gills when they are larvae, but as adults, they typically breathe air with lungs.

Are amphibians endangered?

Many amphibian species are endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, disease, and climate change.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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