Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Reptiles: can you tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?

There is a great variety of reptiles here on planet Earth, and they first started to evolve more than 300 million years ago. There are more than 8,000 species of reptiles, and they include crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and turtles.

The majority of reptiles are oviparous (egg-laying), have scales, and breathe air through their lungs. Apart from snakes, all other reptiles have legs. Their legs are short and are used for crawling. Reptiles are cold-blooded, which explains why they like to lie in the sun!

They range in size from the tiny gecko (1.6 cm) to the saltwater crocodile, which may reach up to 7m in length and weigh over 1,000 kg! The leatherback turtle has endured for 100 million years, and can easily weigh 400 kg. A python can reach 10m in length, and a tortoise can live to more than 200 years!

Among the most frequently asked questions are what the differences are between a gecko and a lizard, a crocodile and an alligator, and a tortoise and a turtle.

The most important difference between a tortoise and a turtle is that a tortoise live on land and a turtle live in water.

A gecko is a type of lizard. They are usually small and live in warm climates. There are, however, many kinds of lizards (almost 4,000 species) and they include iguanas, chameleons, and the largest living lizard, the Komodo Dragon.

The difference between an alligator and a crocodile lies in its snout. The snout of a crocodile is long and is almost V-shaped. On the other hand, an alligator has a wider, U-shaped snout. Also, when their mouths are closed, you can see the crocodile's teeth but the alligator's teeth are not as visible.

Now, try this reptile labelling game. Have fun learning and don't forget to comment!

online jigsaw puzzle

10x8 Jigsaw Puzzle

14x7 Jigsaw Puzzle

Sources: Wiki, eHow, Yahoo, Enchanted Learning and National Geographic.

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