a field guide to reptiles and amphibians

A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians are two distinctly different and remarkable groups of animals. Although often mistaken for one another, there are some major differences between them that make them unique from one another. To help you become better acquainted with these two classes of animals, here is a helpful field guide to reptiles and amphibians.

What are Reptiles?

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals with three key characteristics:

  • They have scaly, dry skin
  • They breathe using their lungs
  • They produce shelled eggs

Examples of reptiles include:

  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Chelonians (Turtles and Tortoises)
  • Crocodilians (Alligators and Crocodiles)

What are Amphibians?

Amphibians are also cold-blooded animals, but they have four key characteristics:

  • They have moist, smooth skin
  • They breathe using their skin and lungs
  • They have the ability to stay underwater or on land
  • They produce unshelled eggs

Examples of amphibians include:

  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Salamanders
  • Newts

How to Identify Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians can sometimes be difficult to tell apart. Here are some helpful tips to distinguish them:

  • Reptiles have scales and are generally found in drier environments. Amphibians have moist smooth skin and are generally found in wetter environments.
  • Reptiles will lay shelled eggs, while amphibians will lay unshelled eggs.
  • Reptiles will typically bask in sunlight and sleep during the day. Amphibians can also bask in sunlight, but they also like to hide in dark, moist areas during the day.

By understanding the characteristics of reptiles and amphibians, it is easy to tell them apart. As you venture out into the wild and explore, now you have the tools to identify and appreciate these incredible animals.

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