Difference Between Cold-Blooded and Warm-Blooded (With Table)

There are several species of animals that are present on earth. They can be divided into many bases one of them is the type of blood an animal has. Everyone as a kid once taught about the animal Kingdom which can be divided into cold-blooded and warm-blooded. These terms help one to identify the habitation of an animal. There is a huge difference between the terms cold-blooded and warm-blooded. 

Cold-Blooded vs Warm-Blooded 

The main difference between cold-blooded and warm-blooded is that cold-blooded animals fail to maintain body temperature at a constant level. On the other hand, warm-blooded can maintain body temperature at a constant level. Cold-blooded depends on surrounding environment heat. While warm-blooded use consumed food for the production of heat.  

Cold-blooded animals fail to regulate the temperature of the internal body and to warm themselves they depend on sunlight. These animals remain inactive mainly in the cold or winter season. This is because when the environment gets colder their body also gets cold and as a result, they failed to gain warmth.  

Mitochondria produce energy and they get utilized to maintain the body temperature. As a result, their body temperature lies between 35- 40 degrees C till their death. In terms of the immune system, they have a stronger one. Even in a cold environment, they remain active. Thus, in both environments, they remain active and can cope up anywhere. 

Comparison Table Between Cold-Blooded and Warm-Blooded 

Parameters of ComparisonCold-BloodedWarm-Blooded
InterpretationIt is referred to as animals that fail to maintain body temperature at a constant level. It is referred to as animals that are able to maintain body temperature at a constant level.
Energy obtainedFrom the surrounding environmentFrom the food consumption
HeartTwo or three-chambered heartFour chambered heart
Body temperatureVaries with the temperature of the surroundingBetween 35-40 degrees C
ExamplesAmphibians and reptilesBirds and mammals

What is Cold-Blooded? 

Cold-blooded animals willnot able to regulate their body’s temperature in respect of the temperature of the surroundings. Due to different temperatures and different surroundings their body temperature fluctuates. It can be said that their body temperature is not constant and as a result, they failed to survive in extreme temperatures. For their metabolic activities, they are dependent on the environmental temperature and that’s why their distribution is limited in the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem.  

They are majorly demonstrated in any thermoregulation mechanisms, there are mainly three:  

  1. Poikilothermy- In this state the internal temperature may vary. But the core temperature remains the same just like immediate environments ambient temperature.  
  2. Ectothermy- It refers to the mechanism in which animals utilize external means such as with the help of sun control their temperature of the body.  
  3. Heterothermy- In this mechanism, if the animals move to another environment, their body temperature too gets affected and changes drastically.  

Cold-blooded animals have several advantages because they consume less food due to the need for less energy to survive their warm-blooded counterparts. To grow and thrive germs, microorganisms, or parasites do not provide any compatible environment. As a result, they are resistant to diseases. But when they get ill, they combat the infection simply by lowering their body temperature. 

What is Warm-Blooded? 

Warm-blooded animals are capable to maintain a constant body temperature and it does not matter what is the temperature of the environment. If they change their surroundings their body temperature remains the same. Their internal mechanism is the reason that helps them to warm up in colder areas. After regulating metabolic rates, they can obtain this control.  

Warm-blooded animals have a completely different mechanism as compared to cold-blooded animals for thermoregulation, there are mainly two:  

  1. Endothermy- This is the process in which the body temperature of animals is controlled through internal means like shivering, burning fat, and panting.  
  2. Homeothermy- It is the mechanism in which a constant internal temperature is maintained rather than just varying the external temperatures.  

Mostly warm-blooded animals maintain their body temperature at a constant level uses a combination of endothermy and homeothermy mechanisms.  

Due to the high metabolism rate, they produce energy, and in return warm-blooded animals get a lot of stamina. They are also active in the cold environment. As well as the immune system is also strong. As a result, in both environments, they are active and can cope up easily anywhere. Some of the examples are whale (lives in water and sweat glands are not required), elephant (sweat through ears), and birds (in extremely cold situations they migrate to warmer regions). 

Main Differences Between Cold-Blooded and Warm-Blooded 

  1. In any extreme conditions and temperature, cold-blooded animals will not survive. While warm-blooded animals are capable of surviving in any environmental temperature and conditions due to their quick adoption in the environment.  
  2. Cold-blooded animals majorly depend upon direct sunlight and surrounding environments’ heat. On the flip side, warm-blooded animals use consumed food for the production of heat.  
  3. In terms of metabolic rates, environmental temperature matters in cold-blooded animals for metabolic rates. Whereas in warm-blooded animals’ environmental temperature does not matter in metabolic rates.  
  4. Multiple proteins are present in cold-blooded animals and they all perform at different temperatures. On the other hand, proteins are not temperature specific in warm-blooded animals.  
  5. For heat regulation in the body, cold-blooded animals do activities such as bathing in the sun, changing body colors, etc. But warm-blooded animals do adaptive activities (sweating, migration, etc.) and metabolic activities. 


So, it can be concluded that animals can also divide it into cold-blooded and warm-blooded. As these, both terms sound similar but they are different from each other in many terms. There is a difference between adoption to changes in temperature and environment and the way they live.  

Cold-blooded failed to maintain body temperature at constant levels whereas warm-blooded can maintain body temperature at a constant level. The body temperature of cold-blooded varies concerning the temperature of the surrounding. While warm-blooded have a temperature of 35- 40 degrees C. Thus, it is a matter of survival in the adoption of the environment. 


  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-018-0003-9
  2. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/228/4702/953.abstract
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