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.

Featured Reptiles

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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Cuvier’s dwarf caiman
(Paleosuchus palpebrosus)

This relatively diminutive caiman is the smallest of all the crocodilians and is native to South America. Adults rarely…
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Iberian worm lizard
(Blanus cinereus)

Even though they are vertebrates with scales and rudimentary eyes, the limbless, ringed morphology of these primitive,…
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Indian Gharial
(Gavialis gangeticus)

This crocodilian’s long, narrow snout it an adaptation to its diet, which consists primarily of fish. They are the longest…
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Mexican Beaded Lizard
(Heloderma horridum)

The Mexican beaded lizard is one of two dangerously venomous lizards in the world and is found mainly in Mexico and southern…
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Morelet’s Crocodile
(Crocodylus moreletii)

Also, known as the Mexican crocodile, this species inhabits freshwater ecosystems of the Atlantic regions of Mexico, Belize,…
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Nile Crocodile
(Crocodylus niloticus)

The Nile crocodile is the second largest crocodile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile and is widespread throughout…
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Orinoco Crocodile
(Crocodylus intermedius)

This very rare species is the most critically endangered species of crocodile and found only in Venezuela and Columbia.…
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Phillippine Crocodile
(Crocodylus mindorensis)

The Phillippine crocodile a relatively small freshwater, crocodilian that is critically endangered mostly due to habitat…
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Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman
(Paleosuchus trigonatus)

Also known as the smooth-fronted caiman, these reptiles are the second-smallest crocodilian. They are native to the Amazon…
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Slender-snouted Crocodile
(Crocodylus cataphractus)

These crocodiles inhabit freshwater ecosystems in central and western Africa. Their narrow snouts are adapted to a diet…
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Spectacled Caiman
(Caiman crocodilus)

This species is widespread throughout Central and South America and is actually the most common crocodilian. They are…
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Yacare Caiman
(Caiman yacare)

This species of caiman is native to South America and the 10 million Yacare caimans inhabiting the Brazilian Pantanal…
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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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