Lizard and turtle

Reptiles are vertebrates.

They have scaly skin – scales are structures that grow on the epidermis. They contain keratin which is similar to what is in human nails and hair.
They hatch young that look like little versions of adults.
Reptiles are ecothermic – which means they are cold blooded – and their body temperature varies with the temperature of its surroundings. They are unable to produce their own body heat so they must either bask in the sun to warm up, or seek shade to cool down.
When it is cold they begin to slow down and really don’t move around very much. In very cold conditions they may go into a stage of hibernation until they warm up again.

Reptile Groups

There are four main groups of reptiles
1) Turtles and tortoises
2) Lizards and snakes
3) Crocodiles and alligators
4) The tuatara (the only species left from an ancient group of reptiles that goes back to the dinosaurs.

Some reptiles spend their time on land and others in water. Reptile species can be found in all types of habitats except tundra and polar ice. They are not found in Antarctica where it is too cold.

In some reptiles the sex of the young is determined by the temperature that the embryos are exposed to during the incubation period. This is known as temperature-dependent sex determination.

Most reptiles make nests or holes to lay their eggs in. Crocodiles and alligators as well as some species of snakes stay to guard the nest and get the youngsters started in life, while most reptiles leave once the eggs are laid and the young must find food and shelter and be independent from the beginning.

There are more than 8000 species of reptiles. The heaviest is the saltwater crocodile which can weigh up to 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). The smallest is the dwarf gecko which measures only 19mms long (3/4 of an inch).

Reptiles have four limbs which means they are in the group known as tetrapods. Even though snakes do not have legs as they have lost them during the course of evolution and they are tetrapods by descent.

They are among the longest lived animals in the world. Large tortoises can live for more than 150 years and alligators can live nearly 70 years.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Scientific Name                               Aldabrachelys gigantea Conservation Status                      Vulnerable Appearance Giant tortoises are most noticeable due to their large domed shell. This acts as protection against predators...
American Alligator

American Alligator

Scientific Name- Alligator mississippiensis Conservation Status- Least concern Appearance The average female American alligator measures 2.6m (8.2ft). Males measure 3.4m (11.2m). Some males have reached 1,000pounds or 450kg. The American alligator...
Australian red eyed tree frog

Australian red eyed tree frog

Scientific Name Litoria chloris                             Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance The Australian red-eyed tree frog is coloured bright green on the back with a light yellow underside. Along the thigh is a streak of p...
Black headed python

Black headed python

Scientific Name Aspidites melanocephalus                      Conservation Status This species is yet to be evaluated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Appearance The black headed python is instantly reco...
Boa constrictor

Boa constrictor

Scientific Name - Boa constrictor Conservation Status - Not evaluated Appearance While regularly considered to be one of the largest snakes they are modest in comparison to the largest snakes. The maximum length attained by boa constrictors...
Chameleon

Chameleon

Scientific name : Chamaeleonidae Conservation Status : Least Concern Appearance All Chameleons have feet that are like clamps. On their front feet, two toes are fused on the outside and three on the inside, on the back feet three are fused on...
Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Scientific Name Pantheropis guttatus                              Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance Wild corn snakes are normally coloured orange. Down their back are red saddle markings that are surrounded by a black line. Their bell...
Fijian banded iguana

Fijian banded iguana

Learn more about the Fijian banded iguana at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, appearance, breeding, behaviour and habitat.
Freshwater Crocodile

Freshwater Crocodile

Scientific name : Crocodylus johnstoni Conservation status : Least concern Appearance The freshwater crocodile is one of the smaller crocodile species. Males can grow up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) long and females up to 2.1 metres (6.9 ft), however...
Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos Tortoise

Scientific name : Chelonoidis nigra Appearance Galapagos tortoises have a large bony shell that is a dull brown colour. Their shells are not solid however they are made up of honeycomb structures that enclose small air chambers. This is important...
Gharial

Gharial

Learn more about the gharial at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding, behaviour and habitat.
Gila Monster

Gila Monster

Scientific Name Heloderma Suspectum               Conservation Status Near threatened Appearance The gila monster’s skin is covered with beadlike scales which are known as osteoderms. Their scales are coloured black with a pattern of y...
Golden Mantella

Golden Mantella

Scientific Name Mantella aurantiaca                              Conservation Status Critically endangered Appearance This species is coloured bright gold or orange-red though males are slightly paler than the females. The inner thigh is...
Green Anaconda

Green Anaconda

Scientific Name           Eunectes murinus              Conservation Status    Not Evaluated Appearance Green anacondas are infamous as the world’s largest and heaviest variety of snake. They do not hold the claim to being the longest sna...
Green Iguana

Green Iguana

Scientific Name Iguana iguana                             Conservation Status Not listed Appearance While known as the green iguana this species can also be a bright orange though they are more often a shade of green. Females and young a...
Jackson's chameleon

Jackson's chameleon

Learn more about the Jackson's chameleon at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding and behaviour.
King Cobra

King Cobra

Scientific Name - Ophiophagus hannah Conservation Status - Vulnerable Appearance The king cobra is the longest of all the venomous snakes. They can achieve a length of 5.5 metres (18 feet). They generally weigh 6kg (13 pounds). The male cobra...
Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon

Scientific Name- Varanus komodoensis Conservation Status- Vulnerable Appearance The komodo dragon is the world’s largest living lizard. The komodo dragon grows to 3 metres, on average for males and 2 metres for females. Most komodo dragons w...
Lace Monitor

Lace Monitor

Scientific Name Varanus varius Conservation Status Not Evaluated Appearance Most of the lace monitor’s body is covered with blue grey scales on the top with cream underneath. The blue grey areas are patterned with cream coloured spots and b...
Leopard Tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

Learn more about the leopard tortoise at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding and behaviour.
Panamanian Golden Frog

Panamanian Golden Frog

Scientific name : Atelopus zeteki Conservation status : Critically Endangered Appearance Adult males and females have similar colouring a light yellowish green to bright gold. They will also usually have several black splotches on their back and...
Philippines Crocodile

Philippines Crocodile

Scientific Name Crocodylus mindorensis                 Conservation Status   Critically Endangered Appearance The Philippines crocodile is one of the smaller crocodile species measuring up to 3m (10ft). Females come in slightly smaller than ma...
Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python

Scientific Name Python reticulatus                      Conservation Status Not evaluated Appearance Reticulated pythons are covered with an irregular pattern of spots and stripes. These are coloured light brown, yellow, dark brown and blac...
Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile

Scientific Name Crocodylus porosus            Conservation Status Least Concern Appearance Saltwater crocodiles have a wider snout than most crocodiles. Their skull may reach up to 75cm (30in) in length. A pair of ridges runs down this...
Spectacled caiman

Spectacled caiman

Learn more about the spectacled caiman at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance, breeding and behaviour.
Tuatara

Tuatara

Scientific Name -Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) -Sphenodon guntheri   (Brothers Island Tuatara Conservation Status - S. punctatus – Least Concern - S. guntheri    -  Vulnerable Appearance Spiky scales run down the back of the t...
Veiled Chameleon

Veiled Chameleon

Scientific Name - Chamaeleo calyptratus Conservation Status - Least Concern Appearance The veiled chameleon is a brightly coloured reptile. At the start of their lives their skin is pastel green. Over their life this becomes striped with...
Western diamondback rattlesnake

Western diamondback rattlesnake

Learn more about the western diamondback rattlesnake at the Animal Facts. Here you can discover their diet, lifespan, habitat, appearance and breeding.
Woma Python

Woma Python

Scientific Name Aspidites ramsayi           Conservation Status Endangered Appearance Woma pythons have a distinctive pattern of light and dark brown alternating bands. These can range in colour from yellow to reddish, grey or olive-brown. On their...