The animal group of reptiles and amphibians is very big. There are nearly 7,500 different reptiles and about 5,000 different amphibians.

Madagascar golden frog. ©Getty Images

Madagascar golden frog. ©Getty Images

The word amphibian (say am-fib-ee-un) means 'two lives'. An amphibian is an animal that spends part of its life living completely in water, and in its adult life is at home both on land and in the water.

For example, frogs are amphibians: as tadpoles they live completely in water, and as adult frogs they are at home both on land and in water.

Here are some of the main characteristics of each





Many reptiles shed their skin,having grown new skin underneath it. Snakes and most lizards do not have eyelids. The eye is covered by a clear scale that sheds with the rest


It is thin and needs to be kept moist. It 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 them. Females lay eggs, which hatch into larvae which have gills and live in water(e.g tadpoles). These develop and change into air-breathing adults. In a few species, the entire tadpole stage takes place in the egg or in mother's body.
Giant tortoise. ©Getty Images

Giant tortoise. ©Getty Images

Reptiles and amphibians are cold-blooded, which means they are 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' like a hibernation when it gets too cold or if food is scarce, and so they save energy. 

Animal groups that are reptiles or amphibians: 


  • crocodiles & alligators
  • lizards
  • snakes
  • turtles & tortoises


Read these kidcyber pages:


  • frogs and toads
  • salamanders
  • newts
  • caecilians