do reptiles have scaly skin

Do Reptiles Have Scaly Skin?

Reptiles are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, animals whose skin is covered in scales or bony plates. Different species of reptile have different types of scales, but all reptiles have some sort of scales or plates. The reasons for this include protection and a better ability to survive in their environment.

Protection from Harm

Scales provide a strong defense layer for reptiles, protecting them from attacks from other predators. These scales create a hardened suit of armor that not only protects the reptile from harm, but also helps the reptile retain water. The structure of the scales are designed to act as a barrier to prevent predators from easily penetrating their skin.

Adapting to the Environment

Scaly skin also provides reptiles with the opportunity to adapt to different environmental conditions. Reptiles are able to adjust their scale size and coloration to camouflage better in their environment. This adaptation makes them less visible to predators, which helps them stay safe.

How Do Reptiles Grow Their Scales?

Reptiles’ scaly skin is made up of keratin, a tough protein that hardens when exposed to air and can range from small bumps to full-size plates. The scales grow out of the epidermis and are attached to the bones underneath the skin. The epidermis is responsible for producing new layers of keratin, which gives the reptile a new layer of scales every time it sheds its skin.


Reptiles have evolved over time to have scaly skin for both protection and better adaptability to their environment. This type of skin is made up of keratin and a variety of different scales, providing reptiles with additional defense. Reptiles also benefit from their scaly skin by adjusting the size and color to better suit their environment.

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