The effect of size and shape of a warm blooded animal on how quickly it losses heat.

Essay by dalbir January 2005

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The aim of this investigation is to find the effect of size on temperature

loss in warm-blooded animals. I am going to investigate the relationship

between objects and the rate at which they loose heat. We will be using

beakers as containers to represent animals in this investigation.


Warm-blooded animals have the ability to achieve homeostasis. One of the

properties of homeostasis is the maintenance of a constant temperature

irrespective of their environment. Cold-blooded animals on the other hand

maintain their body temperature by behavioural means. An example is a

cold-blooded creature going out to bask in the sun and taking shade when the

creature is too hot. Therefore warm-blooded animals have certain advantages

over cold-blooded animals: -

§ They can remain active all day.

§ They can survive in harsh environment.

The advantage of warm-blooded animals is that all these internal processes

that maintain the body temperature require a lot of energy.

This energy is

obtained from food. Warm-blooded animals eat up to ten times as much as

cold-blooded animals because their demands are greater.

Due to the reasons mentioned above, it is vital that warm-blooded animals

reduce heat loss. This can be achieved by;

§ Having the right size and shape

§ Physical means -

§ Insulation (hair trapping air & layers of fat)

§ Vasodilatation / vasoconstriction

§ Sweat production

§ Behavioural methods-

· Hibernating

· Increased movement

· Burrowing

· Seeking shade

· Wallowing

· Basking

As I recently found out, as the size increases the volume increases. The

larger the surface area/volume ratio the larger the heat loss. This is

because the molecules have less distance to travel and more surface area to

lose heat to.

Because of this, small organisms lose heat faster than larger one's. There

is also a relationship between...