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Reptiles are air-breathing vertebrates covered in special skin made up of scales, bony plates, or a combination of both.
See the fact file below for more information on the reptiles or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Reptiles worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- About 310–320 million years ago, reptiles appeared and lived in swamps of the late Carboniferous period, when the first reptiles evolved from advanced reptiliomorpha.
- The earliest known reptiles were Hylonomus and Paleothyris, found in the deposits of North America. They were small lizard-like animals that lived in forested habitats.
- However, reptiles flourished in the “Age of the Reptiles” – the Mesozoic Era from 251 million to 65.5 million years ago (MYA).
- The era when the dinosaurs flourished existed in three periods: Triassic (251-199 MYA), Jurassic (199-145 MYA) and Cretaceous (145-65.5 MYA)
- The first turtles appeared in the Late Triassic Epoch while the Archosauromorphs, a group of diapsids that includes the dinosaurs as well as modern crocodiles and birds, appeared in the Middle Triassic.
- Early snake fossils were found during the Middle Jurassic Period.
- However, by the entry of Cretaceous period, the Mesozoic era reptilian megafauna became extinct.
- Of the large marine reptiles, only sea turtles were left; and of the non-marine large reptiles, only the semi-aquatic crocodiles survived the extinction.
- Of the terrestrial dinosaurs in the Mesozoic era, only the small beaked birds survived.
- All reptiles have backbones, meaning they are vertebrates.
- All reptiles have scales or scutes. Scales are small, hard plates that are made from a protein called keratin. Scutes are the shells of turtles and the armor of crocodiles and are very similar to scales.
- Reptiles are ectothermic or cold-blooded. They cannot control their own body temperature. They must work with their environment to increase or decrease their body temperature.
- To raise their body temperature, reptiles are basking under the sun.
- This makes them move faster. Retreating to shady areas then lowers their body temperature.
- They also produce eggs, and most reptiles lay hard-shelled eggs, but a few give birth to live young.
- Unlike mammals, the sex of many reptile species may be manipulated by the environment in which embryonic development takes place.
- When it comes to their lifespan, reptiles that reach maturity have long lifespans, especially turtles. Crocodiles, large snakes such as boas and pythons, and large lizards often live more than 20 years.
- Most reptiles have a three-chambered heart or more. Squamate species have three chambered hearts while Crocodilians have an anatomically four-chambered heart.
- Reptiles also shed their skin through ecdysis which happens continuously throughout their lifetime. Younger reptiles tend to shed once every 5–6 weeks while adults shed 3–4 times a year.
- Most reptiles are insectivorous or carnivorous and their digestion is slower than mammals.
- Reptiles are generally considered less intelligent than mammals and birds although they exhibit some social behavior and territoriality.
- Most reptiles are diurnal. Their vision is adapted to daylight conditions and has poor vision in low-light conditions. Their sharp color vision and enable them to see ultraviolet wavelengths as well.
- Reptiles also tend to avoid confrontation through camouflage. But when driven to desperation, they bite back. Crocodiles will happily display their huge mouths!
DISTRIBUTION AND ECOLOGY
- Most reptiles’ habitats are in areas with temperate and tropical climates. This is because they are dependent on the temperature of the surrounding environment.
- However, some species of snakes, lizards, and turtles also live at high latitudes and altitudes and have evolved lifestyles that allow them to survive and reproduce. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Many turtles live in the ocean, but also others live in freshwater or on land.
- Lizards are all terrestrial, and they can be found from deserts to rainforests, and from underground burrows to the tops of trees.
- Most snakes are terrestrial and live in a wide range of habitats, but some snakes are aquatic such as the sea snakes.
- Crocodilians live in and around swamps or bodies of freshwater or saltwater.
HUMANS AND REPTILES
- The ancient reptiles fascinated humans until today. Tyrannosaurus Rex or T-Rex is the world’s most popular and favorite ancient reptile.
- Today, there are many reptiles but many of them, especially marine reptiles, are at risk of extinction. Some are threatened by habitat loss.
- Reptiles have been hunted and traded by humans particularly as food.
- They can provide important protein source for many people, or may be sold as a luxury food.
- Some reptiles are even used in traditional medicines and some reptile skins are used in the creation of shoes, handbags and belts, and for jewellery and decoration.
- Reptiles also make popular pets and zoo spectacles. Pets would include small colorful lizards and huge non-poisonous snakes. Zoo reptiles are usually the larger species such as turtles and crocodiles and alligators.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the reptiles across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Reptiles worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the reptiles which are air-breathing vertebrates covered in special skin made up of scales, bony plates, or a combination of both.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Ancient Reptiles
- The Survivor
- Sky Bosses
- Mythical Reptile
- Rare Reptiles
- Warm and Cold
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Link will appear as Reptiles Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.