A to Z About Amphibians and Reptiles

Discusses amphibians and reptile behaviors using every letter of the alphabet.

Discusses amphibians and reptile behaviors using every letter of the alphabet

AMPHIBIANS: They live the first part of their lives in water and when they become adults, they live mostly on land. They usually have soft, moist skin and live near swamps and marshes.

BASKING: Both amphibians and reptiles will lay or bask in the sun to raise their body temperature. If they want to raise their temperature and keep their skin relatively moist, they'll crawl under rocks or in a pile of debris.

CRY: Crocodiles only "cry" to remove salt from their skin. They tend to eat a lot of salty food.

DIET: Most amphibians are carnivorous (meat-eaters). Reptiles can both carnivorous or herbivorous (plant-eaters).

ECTOTHERMIC: Both are cold-blooded or ectothermic. This means that their body temperature is the same as their surroundings.

FOREST: A good habitat for both is a forest. Amphibians can be found near a stream and reptiles, such as snakes, can be found in tress.

GROWTH: Many reptiles and amphibians will continue to grow throughout most of their life.

HEARING: Most reptiles and amphibians have very good hearing. They can hear at levels that humans cannot.

INCUBATION PERIOD: Some amphibians and reptiles lay eggs. Before the eggs hatch though, they develop inside the egg. This developmental process is called the incubation period.

JAW: Some animals, such as snakes, can dislocate their jaw in order to swallow their food whole.

KNOWLEDGE: Knowing the behaviors of these animals may be beneficial if you enjoy hiking. After all, snakes are more scared of you than you are of them most of the time.

LUNGS: Some reptiles, like salamanders, lack lungs. They breathe by taking in oxygen through their skin or membranes inside their mouth.

MIMICRY: Some species have bright colors to warn predators that they are dangerous. However, the milk snake only appears dangerous, but it really isn't. This is called mimicry.

NOSTRILS: Some amphibians have openings in the roof of their mouth. These openings are used to help them smell.

OPAGUE: Before an animal gets ready to shed, their skin becomes opaque. This means that their eyes become cloudy, skin becomes pale and their appetite diminishes.

PLASTRON AND CARAPACE: The plastron is the bottom shell of a turtle. The carapace is the top shell. Turtles don't remove their shells. In case of danger, the shell acts as a protector.

QUICK: Some species can quickly catch their prey. For example, lizards catch insects with a flip of their tongue.

REPTILES: Unlike amphibians, reptiles normally have dry, scaly skin. They are able to lay eggs on dry land whereas amphibians lay their eggs in the water.

SHEDDING: As snakes and other reptiles grow, they shed their skin. In other words, they grow into their new skin.

TOXINS: Frogs have parotid glands which are located above their eyes. These glands secrete toxins when predators attack.

UNIDENTIFIED: Some reptiles and amphibians are very hard to identify if they are males or females. The pet store or your veterinarian can determine the sex of your pet for you.

VENOMOUS: When some species attack, they excrete a venom into the attacker. In some species and in humans, this can be deadly.

WETLAND: Besides the forest, wetlands are also an environment where both reptiles and amphibians may live.

XENODERMINATE: This is a subfamily of snakes that are found in Asia and the East Indies.

YARD: You can even find both amphibians and reptiles in your own backyard! This is especially true if you live near a stream or wooded area.

ZOOS: Some zoos have a separate reptile and amphibian exhibit. Other zoos may exhibit different species within different habitats throughout the zoo.