Reptile Study

A saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
There are many classes of animals, for example elephants are mammals. Reptiles belong to another class: the reptilia. All the reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates, which means that they have backbones. In addition, they are also covered in scales and they breath with their lungs. Nearly all reptiles lay shelled eggs. There are over 10,000 species in the world! The first reptiles are believed to have evolved around 320 million years ago. Rattlesnakes, Vipers, Cobras, Coral snakes, Pythons, Chameleons, Cobras, Lizards and Turtles are only a few examples of them.

Reptiles normally live in warm tropical climates because they are cold-blooded, this means they are unable to regulate the internal temperature of their bodies. They prefer to live in dry climates rather than wet ones. They are normally found in areas like deserts. However, reptiles can be found on every continent except for Antarctica because they have adapted to live in a variety of environments including water, deserts, jungles, forests and mountains.

Reptiles are one of the longest living group of species on Earth. For example, the Aldabra tortoise can live for more than 150 years! An Alligator can live for nearly 70 years and in addition a ball python can live up to 40 years. Reptiles live so long because of the slow rate of their metabolism. One of the reasons turtles are believed to live so long is due to their slowness. Turtles grow very slowly, this prevents them from aging like birds and mammals. Thanks to their slow metabolism, they can survive for a long period of time without water or food. Surviving for a long period of time with no water or food gives them a greater chance of surviving in harsh conditions, therefore they live longer.

Reptiles use many methods to defend themselves like for example camouflage, hissing and biting. A Cobra protects itself with fangs that inject venom. This venom causes paralysis and it kills if not quickly treated. If the Cobra feels endangered it will increase its size by rising up and by spreading it hood. This makes the cobra appear larger and more frightening to its predators. A Chameleon is able to camouflage and in addition it has two eyes on the top of its head that allows it to look in two directions at once.

Reptiles can eat everything from large mammals to small insects. However, some reptiles like the giant tortoise are vegetarians that eat plants like cacti, grasses and other vegetation. Chameleons eat insects. Other type of lizards, such as the green iguana also eat fruit, flowers and leaves. Caiman lizards prefer snail. Whereas Komodo Dragons eat wild pigs and water buffalo. All snakes eat animals, there are no vegetarian snakes. Most snakes eat rodents or birds after killing them with their venom or squeezing them to death. The Green Anaconda, the largest snake in the world, which kills by constricting can eat animals as large as humans and pigs.


Visit also our album of reptiles in Flickr, and in our Reptilia Album page

And a colorful review of Darwin city in Northern Territory, Australia, a place to go and spot reptiles! by one of our contributors (here a Google translation to English).

A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.