Reptiles: Lizards, Snakes, and Others


The most noticeable feature of reptiles are the scales that cover their body.

Although reptiles breathe through lungs, some reptiles can also absorb oxygen in water through membranes in their mouth.

Reptiles are often called cold-blooded because they can't regulate their own body temperature. Their body temperature depends on the external temperature.

Crocodiles and alligators are large amphibious reptiles. They can walk on land using their webbed feet. They can also use their long tail to swim in water. Crocodiles feed on large animals they catch on land or in water. They have powerful jaws and teeth to tear apart their prey.

Lizards and snakes are the largest group of reptiles. Lizards are four legged animals with a long tail. Many lizards can shed their tail to escape from predators. They can then grow a new tail.


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Some lizards, such as the chameleon, can change colors to blend into their environment. This camouflage helps to protect them from predators.

Snakes don't have limbs. They move by slithering along the ground.

Some snakes are poisonous, or venomous, such as the rattle snake, cobra, and eastern green mamba. They have fangs which bite into their prey and inject poison into the victim.

Other snakes, such as the boa constrictor and the python kill their prey by crushing it.

Most snakes can dislocate their jaw, allowing them to swallow prey much larger than themselves.

Web Sites about Reptiles:

The American Alligator and Hawksbill Sea Turtle are features at the Natural Resources Defense Fund site

Boa Constrictor photos and QuickTime movie are at the Belize Zoo. The movie will require the free QuickTime plug-in which you can download.

Alligators at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama




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