Is A Horse A Mammal? (Why There Is Confusion)

Horses fall into one of six categories that include amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles. There are also many other groups of animals that scientist categorize and classify species, but they are the main six. Starting out with the main category then working your way down the tree to the species and so on is the best way to start. With horses they can be confusing as they are one of a kind animal that only resembles really the zebra and they have evolved over the thousands of years to become what they are today.

horses are mammals

Are horses mammals?

Horses are mammals as defined by the mammal classification. Mammals are classified as being able to nurse their young, most all having hair, lower jaw is hinged to skull, left aortic arch persists, and have a diaphragm that separates the heart from the lungs. All horses fill these classifications making them official mammals. 

Yes even dolphins and whales have hair or at least all whales have hair when born. Below we break down what makes horses mammals and why there is confusion on this as well as what makes them so spectacular.

How Are Horses Mammals?

Mammals are a single classification of an animal, but they doesn’t make it any less complex so we will try our best to simplify it.

  • Milk – horses have glands that produce milk to feed their offspring. This is how they feed their babies which they also give life birth too.
  • Warm – all horses are warm blooded which is a main classification of being a mammal.
  • Furry – all horses have fur some more than others of course, but all mammals are at least born with fur. Where a whale usually just loses it from the water.
  • Teeth – all horses have teeth which most all mammals have teeth except something like an Ant Eater which I believe is the only one that doesn’t.

When we break down mammals even further you have a few types that we can talk about.

  1. Live Young – most all mammals including horses give birth to live babies instead of laying eggs like the reptiles, birds, or amphibians. This is also known as a Placental mammals.
  2. Marsupials – marsupials include all the cute animals like kangaroos & koalas that carry their young in a pouch.
  3. Egg Laying – yes there are egg laying mammals that include the funky looking platypus and ant eater.

Horses Are Smart

Mammals are usually very intelligent and have a different brain then other animal groups. Humans of course are the smartest (most of the time) while horses definitely fall into the smart category with most things. Did you know that the pig is actually considered one of the smartest mammals along with dolphins, elephants and chimps.

Are Horses Herbivore Mammals?

Horses are considered to be herbivore mammals because they only eat plants. These plants include grass, alphalpha, many fruits and vegetables as well. But they only eat plants and no meat whatsoever.

Why Are Horses Called Horses?

Horses are called horses because they earned the name by being swift and running a lot back in Ancient times. The actual word Horse means swift and running so it is definitely well deserved for most horses.

Scientific Name Of The Horse

The scientific name of a horse is Equus Ferus Caballus. Horse has become their common name and they are placental herbivore mammals that range in height from 30-70 inches while weighing anywhere from 120-2,200 pounds. The genus of a horse is just Equus.

Are Horses Eyes The Largest Of Land Mammals?

Surprisingly Horse or Equine Eyes are the largest of any land mammal in existence on Earth. Whales, seals, and Ostriches are the only other animals that have larger eyes then the horse. Horse have a great view of the world with their eyes seeing better in daylight and night time then any human.

There are many reasons why they have such big eyes and we will go into depth on a few of them below. Horse eyes are located on both sides of their head so they can see both in front of them an a circular view to their backside to keep them alert for predators at all times. Have you ever seen a horse with blinders? This is the reason as they can be easily distracted or spooked as they can see so much going on around them.

The only true blindspot a horse has is in front of their forehead. They have both monocular and binocular vision that they can use at their disposal. So they can see out of either eye or use both in a binocular view when they need like humans.

Even with this acute vision horses see color differently and actually cannot see the color red. We have actually seen quite a few horses that are blind in one eye that still compete in shows like sorting cows. They still do well and this would explain why as they are used to using one eye at time along with two.

Other Horse Related Questions

Are Horses Placental Mammals?

Horses are placental mammals as they give birth to live young and also produce milk to feed their babies. This is much different then other animals like birds, amphibians, reptiles that mostly all lay eggs.

Are Zebras And Horses Mammals?

Horses and Zebras are both mammals as all Equus genes which horses, zebras, and donkeys fall under have all mammal attributes. Zebras are actually considered a species of wild horses in Africa.

Why Are Appaloosa Horses Idaho’s State Mammal?

Appaloosa horses are Idaho’s state mammal because it helped build the state by them being heavily used on ranches and building the state. It wasn’t until 1975 when Governor Cecil Andrus signed the bill. This is a most deserving reward for the Appaloosa who also happens to be the states fossil since 1988.

Are Horses Animals Or Mammals?

Horses are both animals and mammals. They are animals mainly because they are alive and moving unlike something like plants that normally don’t move. They are mammals because they have hair, provide live births, and feed their young among other things.

Are Wild Horses Mammals?

Wild horses are mammals just like all horses are. They have hair, give birth to live young, along with providing milk to the babies. They also happen to be warm blooded and also have teeth that helps solidify them as mammals.

Is A Horse A Mammal Or Reptile?

Are horse is considered a mammal not a reptile mainly because it gives birth to live young unlike reptiles that normally lay eggs. Horse also produce milk to feed their young ones and also have hair among other things that make them mammals compared to reptiles.




I have owned over 50 horses and currently own a small horse farm with 8 horses. I have competed on and off for over 25 years while doing mostly trail riding and cow sorting these days. I write these articles to help anyone out there if you love this article pin it to your Pinterest or Share on other social media platform. Thanks for visiting.

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