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Scientific Classification

Subclass Diapsida

Subclass Anapsida

Reptiles are some of the more fearsome creatures on Earth. Reptiles are vertebrates that range from 16 millimeters to over seven meters long. Some members of reptilia, such as the dinosaurs are now extinct. Reptiles are similar to amphibians; however, reptiles have tougher skin. Reptiles give birth to amniotic eggs and are predatory animals. God created them on the sixth day along with the land animals, and they have been considered unclean (to eat).


Excluding turtles, reptiles have tough scales made of keratin (a protein). Unlike amphibians, reptiles do not breathe through their skin. Instead they use lungs. Some sea turtles have been found to have gills or thinner skin. Most reptiles have a three chambered heart consisting of two atria and one ventricle. Crocodilians, however, have a four chambered heart. Reptiles have sharp teeth with powerful jaws. Most reptiles use their teeth to hold onto prey and then swallow it whole. Their claws also help them hunt. Some reptiles, mostly snakes and turtles, have a Jacobson organ. This organ allows a snake to locate prey by “smelling” chemicals in the environment around itself. One endangered reptile in an order of its own, called a tuatara, has a light receptive organ on its head, almost like a third eye. Like amphibians, reptiles are ectothermic, or “cold-blooded.” They cannot control their own body temperature, so they use their environment to keep their temperature constant.


Most Reptiles reproduce sexually. A few reptiles, in the order Squamata, can perform asexual reproduction. Some reptiles lay eggs and others deliver live young. Those that lay eggs, form amniotic eggs in which the embryos are protected by a fluid filled sack called an amnion. The egg is surrounded by a leathery or hard shell for protection; and since reptile eggs are deposited on land, the amniotic fluid keeps the egg moist.


Reptiles are predatory animals and prefer to consume and not produce. They are generally at the top of the food chain. Reptiles live around the world in many different environments. These range from the desert to tropical rivers to seas and oceans. Reptiles are land-based except for sea turtles and some sea snakes. Reptiles bask in the sun to get warm or swim in water to keep cool.


Main Article: Dinosaurs

The term dinosaur was invented by Sir Richard Owen in 1842 to describe a large extinct reptile. Evolutionists believe that a cataclysmic event wiped them out. Creationists believe their fossilized ancestors were destroyed during the flood of Noah, but they were also on board the ark and reintroduced along with all other land animals. The legends of dragon could be a reference to recent dinosaurs, and may explain their extinction instead due to the hand of man.

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Related References

  • Reptiles Animal Diversity Web
  • ReptilesClass Reptilia
  • Reptiles Wikipedia
  • Reptiles
  • Reptiles AustralianFauna
  • Pinkston, William. Biology for Christian Schools. Second edition. Bob Jones University Press, Greenville, South Carolina. 1994