Furry Animals – Characteristics and Examples
Have you ever wondered what the hair of animals is for? This curious question does not have a single answer, as the presence of fur in the Animal Kingdom depends on many factors, such as environmental conditions and the evolution of animals. Sometimes animals have more hair on their necks and heads, sometimes on their tails and even on their limbs. But on what does the greater or lesser amount of animal hair depend?
In this interesting article from Better-Pets.net, you will find answers to these and many other questions about animals with hair traits and examples.
Hair Functions in Animals
The function of hair in animals has been studied by several and numerous scientists specializing in animal physiology, in an attempt to find new results that allow us to know exactly what the real functions of the presence of hair in the Animal Kingdom are.
Among the main results of these studies, it is highlighted that hair protects animals against adverse environmental conditions in different climates. It acts as a thermal insulator, especially in cold climates. In this way, when the fur is abundant in animals, it gives them a high insulating effect. Whereas when the presence of hair in the epidermis is more sparsely distributed, the hair contributes to the release of heat and self-regulating body temperature in animals.
In addition, in some animals, the type and amount of hair can vary with the seasons, allowing these animals to adapt better to their surroundings.
The presence of fur helps animals to protect themselves against infections and illnesses caused by bacteria and other microorganisms found in wounds or glands.
Fur is also used by animals to protect their skin from burns caused by abrasion and excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
In some animals, the hair even serves to collect information from the environment and respond to it, helping to touch the location of prey and even interact with other animals (favouring recognition between individuals of the same species, but also between different species). This is the case of the type of hair called ” vibrissa or moustache “, which is usually located on the snout or close to the nostrils, serving animals that have them even to guide themselves in situations of total darkness. In addition, thanks to its colouring, the hairs favour the animals to remain encrypted with the environment that surrounds them and also warn of dangerous situations and alert depending on the arrangement of said hairs.
Which animals have hair?
We have already learned the different and curious functions that hair has in animals, but can we attribute the presence of hair and its functions to all animals? The answer is no, as mammals are the only animals in which we can find this anatomical feature.
No other group of animals, except mammals, has fur to a greater or lesser degree during any of the stages of their lives. We can, therefore, say that it is a unique resource that mammals have kept throughout their evolution.
In this way, depending on the environment in which mammals grow and develop as adults, some species tend to see their number reduced to a large extent, but it is not useful to survive because the environmental conditions do not require the presence of hair. This is the case, for example, of mammals that live in aquatic environments, either their whole life (such as cetaceans) or partially (such as hippos, otters and beavers).
Examples of animals with hair
In this section, we will take a closer look at many of the animals that have fur, grouped according to the genus or taxonomic family to which they belong:
The hair and body hair that humans have is due to the biological evolution of our closest ancestors in the animal kingdom: chimpanzees. These, like gorillas and orangutans, have dense hair all over their bodies.
Both dogs and wolves, coyotes and foxes are characterized by a dense coat of various colors that allow them to blend in with the environment in which they live and thus attack their prey more stealthily.
The majestic lions, tigers, leopards, pumas, jaguars, cheetahs, lynx and cats (both domestic and wild) have some of the most sophisticated fur in the animal kingdom, with all types of density and colour.
The different species, commonly known as bears, have coats that allow them to survive in regions of the planet with cold climates, such as the white polar bear and the brown Iberian bear. But also from tropical climates, like the curious black and white fur of the panda bear and the brown and cinnamon of the bear with glasses.
The short but dense coat of moose, reindeer, deer and deer that belong to this large family of herbivores, allows them to survive the cold winters of their natural habitats while being able to acclimate to the hot springs and hot summers of the regions to where they migrate in search of food.
The hair type of camels and dromedaries allows them to adapt without problems to the sudden changes in temperature between day and night in the deserts where they live. While the dense wool of alpacas, llamas and guanacos are used to make clothing and accessories.
The dense layers of sheep’s wool, shorn to produce all sorts of fabrics, contrast with the thick skin worn by gigantic musk oxen and bison throughout their lives.
The short but stiff hair of domestic pigs and their closest relatives, wild boar, is perfectly designed to protect the tanned skin of these animals against possible parasitic infections, as they spend much of their time in wet environments such as lakes and mud. .
Among the most characteristic fur animals in Australia, marsupials stand out, without a doubt. Kangaroos, koalas and quokkas have abundant coats that allow them to protect themselves from high temperatures and the high tendency to fire in the areas where they live.
Recognized as the most numerous family of mammals, marine has up to 650 species, among which rats and mice stand out, as they are one of the most cosmopolitan animals that we can find sharing a habitat with humans. The short but dense and strong coat of these rodents allows them to have a strong coat that protects them from temperature variations, as well as from possible infections.
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