Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians are a big group of animals. There are nearly 7500 different reptiles and about 5000 different amphibians.

Amphibians spend part of their life living completely in water, and in their adult life are at home both on land and in the water.

Here are some of the main characteristics of each:




 Scales. Many reptiles shed their skin,having grown new skin underneath it. Snakes & most lizards do not have eyelids.The eye is covered by a clear scale that sheds with the rest  Skin. It is thin and needs to be kept moist. Assists in the animal's breathing.

 Life Cycle

 Males and females mate in order for young to start developing. The males put sperm inside the female's body. Some reptiles lay eggs, some give birth to live young. Young generally look like the adults.  Males may add sperm to eggs after they are laid, or may put the sperm into female's body before eggs laid. Sperm added to the eggs make young develop inside. Females lay eggs, which hatch into larvae which have gills & live in water(eg tadpoles). These develop and change into air-breathing adults. In a few kinds, the entire tadpole stage takes place in the egg or in mother's body.

Reptiles and amphibians are cold blooded, that is, unable to keep their body at a constant temperature, which is why they live in warmer regions of the world. They can't warm their bodies from the inside, but need an outside source like the sun. It means they can 'shut down' when it gets too cold or if food is scarce, and so they save energy.

Animals that are reptiles or amphibians:


crocodiles & alligators
turtles & tortoises


frogs & toads 

If you use any part of this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, S. & Thomas, R. Reptiles & Amphibians [Online]

updated July 2013 ©

Other animal groups:

Mammals Fish Insects Birds

 Back to Animals
Specific reptiles & amphibians are also listed by name in the Animals index