Cold Blooded Animals: Curious Animal Body Temperature Facts For Kids

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Mar 08, 2024 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Cold blooded animals have body temperatures the same as their environment.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.9 Min

In science, we learn that Poikilotherms, or cold-blooded animals, are animals that cannot generate internal heat.

All species, save mammals and birds, come under this group, including insects, worms, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Poikilotherms can have relatively warm internal temperatures around the equator. Therefore, the name cold-blooded is a little deceptive.

The term 'cold-blooded animal' refers to an animal whose body temperature is nearly the same as that of its environment. A fish swimming in water that is 40 F (4.5 C) will have a body temperature that is very close to 40 F (4.5 C).

In 60 F (15.6 C) water, the identical fish will have a body temperature of around 60 F (15.6 C).

Cold-blooded animals can't generate their own heat. Therefore, they have to maintain their body temperature by roaming about.

You've probably seen a lizard, turtle, or alligator lounging in the heat of the sun to elevate its body temperature. Whenever it gets too hot, it seeks refuge in the shade, swims, or burrows beneath a boulder or into the earth to cool down.

Cold-blooded animals become less energetic, even lethargic, as the temperature drops. An insect-like animal with wing nerves can't move fast enough to allow it to fly if it gets too chilly.

Extreme temperature variations in the ecosystem can be lethal to a cold-blooded species. The amount of oxygen in the water decreases as the temperature rises.

The oxygen level can be lowered by half if the temperature is raised from 41 F (5 C) to 95 F (35 C). When the temperature rises dramatically, a fish must pump twice as much water through its gills to get the same amount of oxygen as when the temperature was lower.

A fish's need for oxygen rises as a result of its increased activity, compounding the problem.

As a result, a fish may perish due to a lack of oxygen rather than from a lack of heat. Certain moths move their wing muscles, much like you do when you shiver, and tighten their muscles to generate sufficient heat for take-off.

A grasshopper is typically too rigid and cold to hop after a cold night. It can, however, leap around as usual once the heat from the sun's rays has heated it up.

If you enjoy reading all about cold-blooded animals, do check out interesting more facts by reading Burmese bamboo shark facts and burrowing animals.

Do cold-blooded animals have cold blood?

Being cold-blooded has nothing to do with the heat of a creature's blood; it simply implies that cold blooded animals, like frogs, lizards, and other reptiles, will be unable to regulate their own body temperature. Therefore, they must control their body temperature by utilizing sunlight and shade.

The body temperatures of most mammals vary between 97-103 F (36-39.5 C), but birds have an average body temperature of 105 F (40.6 C). Animals with cold blood do not maintain a consistent body temperature. They acquire their heat from the outside world.

Therefore, their body temperature varies depending on the weather. Cold blooded animals, often known as poikilotherms, do not necessarily contain cold blood. It's just that they can operate in a broad range of temperatures and their body's internal temperature fluctuates with their surroundings.

Are humans cold-blooded animals?

Humans are warm-blooded animals, which means we can control our internal bodies temperature irrespective of our surroundings. The hypothalamus is in charge of producing hormones that regulate our temperature.

Skin receptors detect changes in temperature and transmit this message to the hypothalamus. Sweat ducts and tissues are immediately triggered to maintain the body's internal temperature.

Animals have evolved to inhabit nearly every part of the globe. They all require temperature-sensitive biological processes in order to exist. Warm-blooded animals, such as humans, have the capacity to keep their body temperature stable.

Humans are endothermic homeotherms, which means we generate and sustain our own body heat through our metabolism. This is something that most other mammals and birds do as well.

Cold-blooded animals can survive on any type of surface.

Cold-blooded animals can live on land or in water. Cold-blooded animals include insects, crocodiles, alligators, tortoise, lizards, snakes and some amphibians.

Dinosaurs were reptiles, but they were thought to have traits of both cold and warm-blooded animals. Most cold-blooded species hibernate for months to get through winter, or have such a short life span that they perish, as many insects do, to free themselves from getting too cool.

To remain warm, honey bees huddle together and flutter their wings. To avoid the winter cold, many fish may migrate to warmer waterways, while bugs will migrate underground or to warmer locations where temperatures aren't as cool.

Do cold-blooded animals feel pain?

Some people mistakenly believe that cold-blooded animals, such as fish, cannot feel pain.

Warm-blooded animals feel pain, and we've probably proven that some fish can experience pain. Though it has been claimed that most invertebrates do not, there is evidence that some invertebrates, particularly decapod crustaceans, including such crabs and lobsters, and cephalopods, such as octopuses, display physical and behavioral responses that suggest they may be capable of experiencing pain.

Do cold-blooded animals have a heart?

The term 'cold-blooded animals' encompasses a wide range of creatures, from alligators to sponges.

Alligators have hearts, while sponges lack any form of internal organs. Jellyfish do not have hearts. Even cold-blooded animals, however, have hearts.

Alligators have hearts that are fully functional. They are four-chambered, like those of birds and mammals. Even humans have four-chambered hearts like other warm-blooded animals. Hearts are found in the majority of arthropods and mollusks.

Octopuses notoriously have three hearts, and it is said that their blood is a deep blue color. An octopus has a main heart and auxiliary ones that serve the gills. Even earthworms have a heart made up of a set of single-chamber valves.

Some animals are unable to adjust their internal body temperature in response to changes in their environment. Usually, they have a hard time surviving in extreme temperatures.

On the other hand, some animals have the ability to regulate and maintain a steady internal body temperature. Warm-blooded animals can adjust to the adverse elements of any environment by maintaining a steady internal body temperature and surviving in any temperature range.

Endothermic (warm-blooded animals) and ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals produce their internal heat or obtain it from their surroundings.

Homeothermic animals maintain a consistent body temperature regardless of environmental conditions and influences, and their body temperature is generally high. The effect of environmental conditions is very significant in the case of cold-blooded animals.

Endothermic or warm-blooded animals are homeothermic. Cold-blooded animals are the polar opposite of warm-blooded animals in that their internal body warmth fluctuates, and they are unable to control their internal body temperature, relying instead on their surroundings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for cold blooded animals: curious animal body temperature facts for kids then why not take a look at the snake search: what do snake eggs look like?

How big are they?, or what do whales eat? And other facts about these giant mammals.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
Read full bio >