Some mammals will give birth to developed young, others will give birth to live young which they nurse in pouches until they develop, and some will lay eggs. The presence of body hair and the ability of mammal mothers to produce milk to feed their young are two of the defining characteristics of this class of vertebrates. Mammals are also the only animals to hear with the help of three bones in their middle ears: the malleus, incus, and stapes. These animals are warm-blooded so many of the calories they consume in their diet go towards maintaining their body temperature.
Members of the Class Mammalia range in size from the Kitti's Hog-Nosed Bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) which weighs less than a penny to the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) which weighs about 160,000 kg--roughly equal to 70 midsized cars.
Dolphins, whales, rodents, deer, and, of course, the wild horses of Shackleford Banks can all be found in and around Cape Lookout National Seashore. The park monitors the Shackleford horse population other special interest species. The annual reports for these monitoring efforts can be found on the Wildlife Management page.
Some of the most common mammals in this area are listed below.