Introduction to Reptiles

Identify characteristics of reptiles

Reptiles are tetrapod animals in the class Reptilia. This class includes today’s turtles, crocodilians, snakes, amphisbaenians, lizards, tuatara, and their extinct relatives. The study of these traditional reptile orders, historically combined with that of modern amphibians, is called herpetology.

In more recent years, scientists have discovered that some reptiles are more closely related to birds than they are to other reptiles (e.g., crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to lizards). For this reason, many modern scientists prefer to consider the birds part of Reptilia as well.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify the characteristics of reptiles
  • Explain the difference between the clades of reptiles
  • Discuss the evolution of reptiles

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Characteristics of Reptiles
  • Classes of Reptiles
  • Evolutionary History of Reptiles
  • Self Check: Reptiles