Reptile Facts for Kids
The salt water crocodile, komodo dragon, and green iguanas, oh my! These are all different kinds of reptiles. Do you know what a reptile is? Reptiles are vertebrate animals, meaning they have a backbone. They are also characterized by their dry skin and sometimes, hard shells. What other examples of reptiles can you think of? Maybe you thought of a turtle or a snake. These species of reptile are alive today and you may just find them in your yard! Take a look outside. What do you see? Are there any animals out there? How about reptiles? How will you know which ones are types of reptiles? With these reptile facts for kids, you will be sure to spot a reptile from a mile away, so keep reading to learn all about these incredible animals. You can download a FREE activity packet at the bottom of the post. It includes a lizard coloring page, find the differences, turtle maze and how to draw a snake!
All About Reptiles
Reptiles are one of the most diverse groups of animals on Earth. There are more than 10,000 living reptile species, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. There are at least 4,675 species of lizards in the world, making it one of the most common reptiles. Their reptile skin and bony skeletons have been around for over 2 million years! That’s a long time and a lot of lizard species!
Where do Reptiles Live?
Most reptiles are terrestrial, meaning they live on land. However, a few reptile species are aquatic, living in water environments. Some reptiles species that live underwater include saltwater crocodiles, male and female green sea turtles, the marine iguana, and sea snakes.
Reptile Facts for Kids – Body Temperature and Other Fun Facts
Reptiles are ectothermic, meaning that they get their body heat from their environment. They do not have a constant body temperature, instead, it changes based on the environment they are living in. This makes reptiles very adaptable to different climates including both warm and cool places.
Reptiles have a slightly different arrangement of the heart than mammals. Reptiles have a three-chambered heart, unlike the four-chambered heart of mammals. This allows reptiles to remain active even when their body temperature drops significantly.
What do Reptiles Look Like?
Reptiles have scaly skin that helps protect them from predators and the elements. The scales can be different colors and sizes, depending on the species.
All reptiles are vertebrates, meaning they have a backbone. For some reptiles, you can actually see these thin bony plates. Other reptiles, such as the turtle, have a hard, protective shell. This shell provides turtles protection and in some turtle species, their shells also serve as a defense mechanism against predators.
Reptile Facts for Kids – Characteristics of Reptiles
Reptiles are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. The climate and environment a reptile is living in determine when the eggs will be laid. Some species lay their eggs in holes dug in the ground to protect their young from predators. The eggs can be either hard or softshell and the incubate period (the time between when the egg is laid and the animal is hatched) varies depending on the species. Have you ever seen a reptile lay eggs? Or a reptile hatching from an egg? Both can be incredible sights to see!
Reptiles have a good sense of smell and sight, but their hearing is not as developed.
What do Reptiles Eat?
Reptiles are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. Their diet can include insects, other small animals, and even other reptiles.
Some reptiles have sharp teeth to help chew their food, other reptiles don’t chew their food at all! Snake species will sometimes swallow their prey whole, while crocodiles will use their sharp teeth to tear apart their prey. A single crocodile tooth can grow up to eight inches long!
The biggest reptile is the saltwater crocodile, with a body size over 23 feet long. Impressed yet? Believe it or not, these creatures can weigh over 2,200 pounds!
With nearly 5,000 different types of lizards in the world today, the komodo dragon wins the award for being the largest lizard. On average, they weigh about 154 pounds, but the biggest lizard on record weighed in at 366 pounds! This same lizard was 10.3 feet long. Wow, that’s one big lizard!
The smallest lizard is the nano chameleon, with the largest one of its kind measuring only 0.7 inches. Their short length and stature also make them the smallest reptile. Fun fact: the nano chameleon was just discovered in 2021!
More Fun Reptile Facts for Kids
What is your favorite kind of reptile? Maybe you like the crocodile for its incredible teeth and powerful bite. Or perhaps you like the lizards for their scaly skin and ability to camouflage. Or are you a fan of the snakes? I know I’m not, but some people appreciate their slimy appearance and the fact that they eat mice. If you are like me, though, you probably like the turtle for its beautiful shell and unique personality.
No matter which reptile is your favorite, or if you even like reptiles at all, you can’t deny that these are pretty cool creatures. Many reptiles have different characteristics and appearances but they all share a lot in common. Lizards and turtles both have dry, scaly skin and the ability to camouflage but turtles have a hard, protective shell that lizards do not. And crocodiles have some of the largest teeth of all creatures out there and snakes, on the other hand, have rather small teeth.
Each reptile is unique and each reptile has so much more you can learn about them, so keep reading, researching, and if you can, get out there and go exploring! You never know what animals you may find. Just make sure to keep your eyes open, so you don’t miss any reptiles hiding among the trees.
WANT MORE FUN FACTS FOR KIDS?
Check out these fun facts for kids here and browse all the other topics at the bottom of the post.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE REPTILE PDF PACKET
What is included in the FREE packet?
- Lizard coloring page
- Find the 10 Differences Reptile Page
- How to Draw a Snake
- Turtle Maze
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