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What is a reptile?

There are more than 10,000 species of reptiles, a class of animals that includes a diverse group of vertebrates. There are four groups of reptiles: Crocodilia, Squamata, Testudines and Sphenodontia. Squamata is the largest group, with over 9,000 species, and includes lizards and snakes!



These are a few of the characteristics that define most reptiles.

  • Scales

    Reptiles have scales or scutes that aid in protection from the elements and other animals.

  • Cold-blooded

    Most reptiles are not able to control their internal body temperature.

  • Eggs

    While most reptiles lay eggs, about one of five types of lizards and snakes bear live young.

  • Independent Young

    Young reptiles are often smaller, identical versions of adult reptiles.

Please note not all animals are viewable at all times.

Reptiles at the Zoo