What’s the Surface Area of a Mammal?

A cat is larger than you think.

Think fast: How big is a cat?

It sounds like it should be obvious—a cat should be cat-sized, right? But not if its true surface is considered. If you take into account all the nooks and crannies, a cat’s surface area is actually much larger than you might think. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that if you include the hair on various mammals, their respective surface area could increase up to 100 times.

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Microscopic Hairs Keep Some Critters Clean

With that in mind, we’ve put together this quiz. Can you guest how large—surface area-wise—these mammals actually are?

How’d you do? Let us know in the comments!

Meet the Writer

About Brandon Echter

Brandon Echter was Science Friday’s digital managing editor. He loves space, sloths, and cephalopods, and his aesthetic is “cultivated schlub.”

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