Cold-blooded and Covered in Scales!

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The first reptiles appeared approximately 315 million years ago. They were ectothermic (cold-blooded) and shared some superficial similarities to the amphibians who ruled the land at that time, but reptiles use their lungs to breathe from birth, possess watertight scale or scute-covered skin, and lay hard-shelled eggs which allows them to spend their entire lives on land. Reptiles became so successful during the Mesozoic era (about 252 to 66 million years ago), it was dubbed the “Age of the Dinosaurs,” a time that has inspired many a young paleontologist! Reptiles are still plentiful today, with many types of crocodiles, lizards, and snakes serving as representatives.


(Orycteropus afer)

Aardvarks are nocturnal, burrowing mammals, recognizable by their characteristic pointy snouts and ears. The last known…
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African bush elephant
(Loxodonta africana)

These charismatic giants are the largest living terrestrial animals, with an average height between 9.2 and 10.8 feet…
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African Clawed Frog
(Xenopus laevis)

This species of frog is completely aquatic and has no tongue or teeth. They shove food into their mouth and down their…
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African Fat-tailed Gecko
(Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)

This nocturnal, ground-dwelling gecko is named for its adaptation of storing fat in its tail - these energy reserves allow…
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African Rock Python
(Python s. sebae)

This species is the largest native snake in Africa and one of the five largest species of snakes on the planet. They are…
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American Alligator
(Alligator mississippiensis)

This large reptile can reach lengths of 15 feet and a weight of almost 1000 pounds! They inhabit freshwater wetlands throughout…
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American black bear
(Ursus americanus)

This medium sized bear is the most common and widespread of all bear species. They generally prefer to live in the forest…
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American Bullfrog
(Rana catesbeiana)

These territorial frogs are named for their loud, deep call that reminds some of the roar a bull. They are often found…
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American Crocodile
(Crocodylus acutus)

The range of this sizeable crocodile spans from both coasts of southern Mexico, to as far south as Peru and Venezuala,…
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American Toad
(Anaxyrus americanus)

The American toad is a commonly occurring species throughout the Eastern United States and Canada and they can live almost…
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(144 Species)

Anchovies are small, oily fish that are found in scattered areas throughout the world’s oceans. They tend to be tolerant…
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Arctic fox
(Vulpes lagopus)

This small species of fox is native to the Arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere. Its dense coat, which is white in…
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Argentine Tegu
(Tupinambis merianae)

This is an omnivorous, terrestrial lizard that is native to the tropical rainforests, savannas and semi-deserts of east…
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Argus monitor
(Varanus panoptes hornii)

This monitor is found in northern regions of Australia and southern regions of New Guinea. They are versatile predators…
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Asian Water Monitor
(Varanus salvator)

The Asian water monitor is the third longest lizard in the world, able to reach lengths of 9 feet, though 3-5 feet is…
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Atlantic tarpon
(Megalops atlanticus)

These large, striking fish are typically found in tropical and sub-tropical coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons, and rivers…
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Australian Freshwater Crocodile
(Crocodylus johnstoni)

These crocodiles are found in northern Australia, in the states of Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.…
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Australian Water Dragon
(Physignathus lesueurii)

Australian water dragons are arboreal agamids with strong limbs and long claws for climbing. They are very strong swimmers…
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(Ambystoma mexicanum)

These completely aquatic salamanders are also known as the Mexican salamander or Mexican walking fish. They are a neotenic…
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Barbary Dove
(Streptopelia risoria)

This species of dove is the most commonly kept dove in captivity, owing to their ease of care, hardiness, and pleasant…
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Barking Tree Frog
(Hyla gratiosa)

This species of frog is native to the Southeastern United States. They are variable in color but recognizable by the dark,…
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Basking shark
(Cetorhinus maximus)

The basking shark is the second largest living fish after the whale shark and can be found in all the world’s temperate…
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Bearded Dragon
(Pogona sp.)

There are eight species of bearded dragons in the Pogona genus, all adept climbers who are commonly found resting on branches…
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Bee hummingbirds
(Mellisuga helenae)

Bee hummingbirds (Mellisuga helenae), native to Cuba, weigh about as much as a dime and are about 2.5” long, eat their…
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Bengal Tiger
(Panthera tigris tigris)

While it is the most common subspecies of tiger, the Bengal Tiger is still endangered, ranging only in India, Nepal, Bangledesh,…
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Black Caiman
(Melanosuchus niger)

The black caiman is one of the biggest member of the alligator family – they are the largest predator in the Amazon…
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Black neon tetra
(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)

These natives of the Paraguay Basin of Brazil are recognizable by the two distinct, longitudinal, adjacent stripes (one…
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Black-headed spider monkey
(Ateles fusciceps)

The black-headed spider monkey is an arboreal, diurnal species of primate native to Central and South America (New World…
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Blue-spotted stingray
(Neotrygon kuhlii)

The blue-spotted stingray is generally found in Indonesia to Japan, and south to Northern Australia. They are popular…
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Blue-Tongued Skink
(Tiliqua scincoides)

These hefty Australian natives are named for their large blue tongues that are used as a bluff to scare off attackers.…
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Bonobo Chimpanzee
(Pan paniscus)

These endangered great apes are one of two species making up the genus Pan, the other being the common chimpanzee (Pan…
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Brazilian tapir
(Tapirus terrestris)

The Brazilian, or South American, tapir is one of five species in the tapir family. They are large mammals– adults can…
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Broad-snouted Caiman
(Caiman latirostris)

This broad-snouted caiman is found in Eastern and Central South America and prefers still or slow-moving waters such as…
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Broadnose sevengill shark
(Notorynchus cepedianus)

Notable for its seven gill slits (most sharks have five or rarely, six), the broadnose sevengill shark is also the only…
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Brown Basilisk
(Basiliscus vittatus)

Basilisks are native to Mexico, Central America, and northwestern Columbia. They have been nicknamed “Jesus Christ lizards”…
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Budgett’s Frog
(Lepidobatrachus laevis)

These frogs, sometimes called hippo frogs, are natives of Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia.  Budgett’s…
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Burrowing Owl
(Athene cunicularia)

As their name implies, these owls live in burrows and are willing to either dig their own or inhabit those made by prairie…
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Cane Toad
(Rhinella marina)

The Cane Toad is a very large, terrestrial toad native to the extreme southern United States and Central and South America.…
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Cane Toad
(Rhinella marina)

The Cane Toad is a very large, terrestrial toad native to the extreme southern United States and Central and South America.…
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(Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

Capybaras are the largest rodent in the world and can weigh in excess of 100 pounds! They are native to South America…
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Cardinal tetra
(Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Cardinal tetras are native to the Orinoco and Negro Rivers of South America. These colorful fish, with their blaze of…
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(Bos Taurus)

These large ungulates have been domesticated for more than 10,000 years. All the 1.3 billion cattle in the world are thought…
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Channel catfish
(Ictalurus punctatus)

This species is North America’s most numerous catfish species, widespread throughout lower Canada, eastern and northern…
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(Chinchilla lanigera)

The long-tailed or Chilean chinchilla are popular as pets and in the fur trade, but their wild counterparts are critically…
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Chinese Alligator
(Alligator sinensis)

This species is significantly smaller than its only close cousin, the American alligator. It is further distinguished…
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Chinese Fire-Bellied Newt
(Cynops orientalis)

These small newts are black with bright-orange coloration on their ventral sides which they use to ward off predators…
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“Clam” is an informal name that refers to bivalves (such as oysters, scallops, mussels, cockles, clams, and numerous…
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Coastal Plains Toad
(Bufo nebulifer)

The range of this widespread toad extends from the state of Veracruz in Mexico, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico,…
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Comb jelly

This phylum of animals inhabits marine waters worldwide. They are named for their distinctive rows of cilia, or combs,…
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Common carp
(Cyprinus carpio)

The common carp is native to Asia. Even though wild, native populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, it has…
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Interesting Facts

For years, the Komodo dragon was accused of having a mouth so filthy that even if you escaped its terrible bite, you were doomed to eventually die from the ensuing bacterial infection. However, recent studies on Komodo dragons demonstrated that this was unfair, as they have mouths cleaner than many mammalian carnivores. It turns out the reality is worse than the myth: they have poison glands! Komodo dragons produce a venom that sends prey into shock while keeping its blood from clotting. A deer or pig who “escapes” will run off and go into shock, and bleed out from its wounds within 3 hours, leaving an easy treat for the dragon.


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