Mammals are a class of warm-blooded animals that possess hair or fur, mammary glands that produce milk for feeding their young, and three middle ear bones. There are many different families of mammals, each with unique characteristics and adaptations.

List of families of mammals

List of some of the major families of mammals

  • Felidae (cats)
  • Canidae (dogs)
  • Ursidae (bears)
  • Elephantidae (elephants)
  • Cervidae (deer)
  • Bovidae (cattle, sheep, goats)
  • Equidae (horses)
  • Suidae (pigs)
  • Delphinidae (dolphins)
  • Phocidae (seals)
  • Hominidae (humans, apes)
  • Rodentia (rodents)
  • Chiroptera (bats)
  • Cetacea (whales, porpoises)
  • Marsupialia (marsupials)
  • Monotremata (monotremes)
  • Hylobatidae (gibbons)
  • Tapiridae (tapirs)
  • Camelidae (camels, llamas)
  • Leporidae (rabbits, hares)

Felidae (Cats)

Felidae is a family of carnivorous mammals that includes all species of cats. These animals are found all over the world and have a diverse range of physical and behavioral characteristics. They are generally solitary and have excellent vision and hearing. Examples of felids include domestic cats, lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars.

Characteristics of Felidae family

Body shape: Felids have a muscular, streamlined body shape that makes them agile and efficient hunters.

Teeth: All felids have sharp, curved teeth, including canine teeth that are used for catching and killing prey.

Claws: Most felids have retractable claws, which help them to grip and hold onto prey.

Eyes: Felids have excellent vision, including the ability to see well in low light conditions.

Ears: Felids have highly sensitive ears that are used for hearing prey and potential threats.

Social behavior: Most felids are solitary animals, although some species are known to live in groups.

Hunting behavior: Felids are carnivores and hunt for prey, often using stealth and ambush techniques.

Communication: Felids communicate with each other through vocalizations, body language, and scent marking.

Adaptability: Felids are highly adaptable animals and can thrive in a wide range of habitats, from deserts to rainforests.

Reproduction: Felids are typically polygamous, with males mating with multiple females. Depending on the species, females may give birth to litters of one to six offsprings.

Hunting behavior of Felidae family

Hunting behavior is a critical characteristic of the Felidae family. Felids are carnivores, meaning that they primarily feed on meat, and their hunting behavior is adapted to catch and kill prey.

  • Ambush and Stealth – Felids are stealthy hunters that rely on stealth and ambush to catch prey. They use their muscular, streamlined body shape to move silently and undetected through their environment. They also have excellent eyesight and hearing, allowing them to stalk prey without being seen or heard.
  • Solitary Hunting – Most felids are solitary hunters, meaning that they hunt alone. This allows them to catch prey without having to share it with other members of their group. Some species, such as lions, may hunt in groups to take down larger prey.
  • Opportunistic Hunting – Felids are opportunistic hunters, meaning that they will eat whatever prey is available. This can include small mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and even insects.
  • Pursuit and Pounce – Once a felid has located its prey, it will use a combination of pursuit and pounce to catch it. They can run at high speeds for short distances, and use their sharp claws to grip and hold onto prey.
  • Killing – Felids use their sharp teeth and powerful jaws to kill their prey quickly and efficiently. They may deliver a fatal bite to the neck or head of the prey, or use suffocation to kill it.

Hunting methods of the Felidae family

Felidae lifespan

The lifespan of Felidae (cats) can vary depending on the species and various other factors such as genetics, diet, environment, and medical care. On average, smaller cat species such as domestic cats have a lifespan of 12-16 years in captivity, while larger species such as lions have a lifespan of 10-14 years in the wild as well as up to 20 years in the captivity. However, some species such as the leopard, snow leopard, and cheetah have been known to live into their late teens and early twenties in captivity with proper care.

Canidae (Dogs)

Canidae is a family of carnivorous mammals that includes dogs, wolves, foxes, and other similar species. They are social animals that often hunt in packs, and have a keen sense of smell. Examples of canids include domestic dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes.

Canidae family species

The Canidae family, commonly known as the dog family, includes a wide range of species. Some of the most well-known species include:

  • Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
  • Gray wolf (Canis lupus)
  • Coyote (Canis latrans)
  • Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus)
  • Fennec fox (Vulpes zerda)
  • Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis)
  • Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
  • Dhole (Cuon alpinus)
  • African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
  • Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
  • Culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus)

Largest Canidae in the world

The largest canid in the world is the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Adult males can weigh up to 145 pounds and stand up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. They have a powerful build, with strong jaws and teeth adapted for hunting large prey, and they are highly social animals that live in packs. Gray wolves are found in a variety of habitats across the Northern Hemisphere, including forests, tundra, and grasslands, and are considered to be a keystone species in many of these ecosystems.

Facts on largest Canidae in the world

Cervidae (Deer)

Cervidae is a family of herbivorous mammals that includes deer, elk, and moose. They have a unique set of antlers that they shed and regrow each year, and use them for defense and courtship displays. Examples of cervids include white-tailed deer, red deer, elk, and moose.

Facts on Cervidae family

What is the largest deer?

The largest deer species is the moose (Alces alces), also known as the Eurasian elk in Europe. Male moose, or bulls, can weigh up to 1,400 pounds and stand up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall at the shoulder. They have long legs, a humped shoulder, and a large, broad head with a distinctive flap of skin, known as a “bell,” hanging from their throat. Moose are primarily found in the boreal forests of North America, Europe, and Asia, and are known for their distinctive vocalizations and antlers, which can span up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide in some individuals.

Bovidae (Cows, Sheep, Goats)

Bovidae is a family of herbivorous mammals that includes cows, sheep, goats, and other similar species. They are social animals that often live in herds, and have hooves instead of feet.

Bovidae family tree

The Bovidae family is a diverse group of ruminant mammals that includes around 140 species, including goats, sheep, cattle, antelopes, and more. Here is a simplified family tree of the Bovidae family, showing some of the major subfamilies and tribes:


├── Antilopinae

│ ├── Antilopini (gazelles, saiga antelope)

│ └── Capricornini (chiru, Tibetan antelope)

├── Bovinae

│ ├── Bovini (cattle, bison, buffalo, yak)

│ └── Tragelaphini (kudu, nyala, eland)

├── Caprinae

│ ├── Caprini (goats, sheep, ibex, markhor)

│ └── Ovibovini (muskox)

├── Cephalophinae (duikers)

├── Hippotraginae (oryx, addax)

├── Reduncinae (reedbucks, waterbucks)

└── Alcelaphinae (hartebeest, wildebeest) nclude cows, sheep, goats, bison, and antelopes.

Suidae (Pigs)

Suidae is a family of omnivorous mammals that includes pigs, boars, and hogs. They have a unique snout that they use for digging, and often live in groups. Examples of suids include domestic pigs, wild boars, and warthogs.

Equidae (Horses)

Equidae is a family of herbivorous mammals that includes horses, zebras, and donkeys. They are social animals that often live in herds, and have long legs and a streamlined body for running. Examples of equids include domestic horses, zebras, and donkeys.

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Anuradhika Lakmali

Anuradhika Lakmali is a co-founder of Science A Plus learning network. She is working as a government teacher and has interest in chemistry, biology, phisics and self development.