A Guide to Classification for Reptiles

Reptiles, the ectotherm vertebrate or in other words cold blooded. They rely on the environment they are in and cannot sustain their own body heat. The Class Reptilia unlike amphibians have thick, impermeable skin or are covered by scales. They are hatched from a water tight shell and these creatures have lungs. With usually a three chambered heart, the exception being that the crocodilians have a four chambered one.

What belongs to the Reptilia Class?
Picture two by two onto the ark: Lizards, Snake, the tortoise and maybe the crocodile. Do you think Noah would need to drag that monster along if it can swim? We probably will never know. There are also a few other species make up the reptile order.

Wiggle and squirm.
Amphisbaenia or worm lizards! They resemble earthworms and many posses pink body color with scales arranged in rings. Most burrow and are very rare. Found in Africa and South America and some parts of the Middle East. There are about 160 species, which adds to the unusualness. Not much is known about this unique animal.

Hiss! Hiss!
Snakes and Lizards! Lizards represent about fifty-four percent of the reptilian species. They usually have four legs and eye lids. They live on every continent except Antarctica. How are snakes different? Snakes are extremely muscular and swallow their prey whole. The legless animal has no eyelids just an immobile transparent scale. That is why some snakes when they shed their skin will shed they eye scale. Almost all snakes have fangs not teeth. They lack external ears and have thin forked tongues, maybe they lisp? 600 species are poisonous; while there is only two species of Lizard that are, the Gila monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard. The Komodo dragon has a deadly growth of bacteria in its saliva but doesn’t produce venom from its body.

Sally sold shells.
Testudines are a species that developed all over the earth and ocean. Land testudines are called tortoises and water dwellers are turtles. Easy enough! They are distinguished by the large shells (the carapace) and also a shield or breast covering plastron; both are made of many fused bones, fifty or more. Shells have a nerve and blood supply this is not just dead skin. So don’t throw them for fun, it can hurt! Fun Fact: Tu’I Malila was a tortoise presented to the King of Tonga by Captain Cook in the late eighteenth century. The Tortoise lived to be at least 189 years.

See you later AlligatorAfter a while Crocodile!
Crocodilia, the largest and fiercest of all the living reptiles! Includes: Gators, Gavialidae, Crocks and Caiman. There are twenty-three world known species and almost all are endangered. They live on land and close to or mostly in the water. Imagine one foot in and one out can he make up his mind? An Alligator eye has a vertical retina much like our house cats. They are mostly nocturnally active creatures but are likely to be found sun bathing during the day. Their front feet have five separate toes while the back only have four if they are lucky not to loose any in a fight. Crocs of any kind are very territorial and males will eat their young.

Oldest Relative to the Dino!
Tuataras a New Zealand species of lizard is the oldest and there are two species of the Tuatara to date. They have been estimated to have flourished for around 200 million years. They have a kind of dull greenish brown coloring and measure up to 80 cm from tail to tip of the nose. Creepily enough this guy has two rows of top teeth and also a third eye on the top of the head complete with retina. Though it is poorly developed used mostly it is assumed for light sensitivity.

Herps lovers or Reptile owners will vouch for their cold blooded pets as some of the most gentile animals. The exotic companions or extreme out door cousins we hope will always share our earth. Giving us a peak at hidden treasures like the dragons of old!