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First of all we need to understand what ectothermic and endothermic animals are. Animals differ in their abilities to regulate body temperature (thermoregulation). We sometimes use the terms "cold-blooded" or "warm-blooded." Most reptiles feel cold to the touch, while mammals and birds often feel warm. Somewhat more precise descriptions can be made by using the terms poikilothermic and homoiothermic. The body temperature of poikllotherms is relatively variable, while that of homeotherms is relatively constant. Even more useful terms are Ectothermic or Endothermic, which suggest two different mechanisms of thermoregulation. Ectotherms generally obtain heat from their external surroundings. Their body temperature varies, corresponding at any time with the temperature of their external environment. Endothermic animals, on the other hand, have relatively constant body temperatures. Their body temperature is independent of that of their external environment. Monkeys and walruses, for example, both have body temperatures of about 38 žaC, despite living in very different habitats. However if body temperature rises above its optimum level (usually around 40 žaC in mammals) then the enzyme rate inside the body will go into sharp decli

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