What Is a Reptile?
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||ectotherms, tuatara, vertebrate, drying, main, cooler, reptile, underground, leathery, deserts, lays, longer, scaly, interesting, covering, python
What Is a Reptile?
By Cindy Grigg
1 Reptile is one of the five main groups of vertebrate animals. Vertebrates are animals with backbones. Reptiles have a body covering of scales. These scales protect their bodies. Scales keep them from drying out. Scaly skin lets some reptiles live in dry places. Alligators, snakes, turtles, and lizards are all reptiles. Reptiles live on land and in the sea. They can be found in deserts and wetlands.
2 Reptiles can't keep their bodies warm by themselves. They are called ectotherms. Some people call this "cold-blooded." Their bodies are the same temperature as the air around them. When they get cold, they slow down. They must move to a warmer spot or bask in the sun to get warm. If they get too warm, they cool down by moving into the shade or into cool water. Most reptiles live on or near land in warm places. Some animals that live in deserts make homes underground. Under the ground stays warmer at night than the cool night air above ground. Being underground in the daytime is cooler than being out in the hot sun.
3 Reptiles have lungs. They breathe air like you and I do. Even reptiles that spend much of their time in water, like alligators, must come to the surface of the water to breathe air or they will die.
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