Mammals all have hair, even though whales
have it before they’re born. Whiskers are a
special type of hair. They are sensory, which
means that animals get information about their
environment from them. Whiskers are very useful
at feeling air and water currents.
Land animals that hunt at night or
tend to have long whiskers these can tell them
where things are. For example, a mouse might be
able to feel its way in the darkness. As a
mouse runs by, a cat might feel the current of
air and use that to pounce on the mouse.
Some aquatic (water) mammals have very long,
stiff whiskers that help them find fish by
feeling water currents. If you see sea lions
and seals on land, you might not notice their
whiskers because they fold them flat, but if you
see them in a pool, you can see their whiskers
flared out. This helps them hunt in deeper
water, where there’s no light to allow them to
see their prey.
Here’s a site with some great photos of their
Some other animals have things that look like
whiskers, but they aren’t really hairs. In
catfish, they’re called barbels. Catfish live
at the bottom of muddy rivers. Why do you think
they have barbels?
Thanks for asking,