Definition of Reptiles: Characteristics and Examples

Understanding Reptiles – The deadliest reptiles are spread in almost all countries. They mostly live in natural forests and have a deadly poison to survive in their habitat. Reptiles are one of the most feared because some of these types are among the deadliest animals on earth.

However, it is also important to understand that no animal is naturally cruel or evil. They are just trying to survive by hunting for food or defending against predators that approach them. If humans encounter these animals, it is better to stay away so they don’t feel threatened and attack you back.

Definition of Reptiles

Reptiles or reptiles (in Latin ” reptans ” means “creeping” or “creeping”) are a group of cold-blooded vertebrate animals and have scales that cover their bodies. Reptiles are tetrapods (animals with four limbs) and lay eggs whose embryos are covered by the amniotic membrane. Today, they live on every continent except Antarctica.

Some experts have suggested that reptiles were the first organisms to spread throughout homes, from dry habitats to small bodies of water. Examples of reptiles that live in such habitats are Komodo dragons and lizards. Reptiles not only live in dry and arid environments, but are also known as animals that live in two natural or scientific languages ​​called amphibians (water and land). However, only a few species live in the area. Examples are turtles, snakes, and crocodiles.

Reptiles have an important habitat on land. When in the water, they can only feed or lower their body temperature. In addition, reptiles have different body heights, from the smallest to the largest.

Characteristics and Grouping of Reptiles

There are various characteristics in this reptile, here is the explanation:

  • Animal body that has been covered with scales.
  • Included among a group of animals that are cold-blooded.
  • Has a nervous system in the form of a brain.
  • Have a sensory device such as eyes, nose and ears.
  • Generally have a very long life.
  • Has a large breathing apparatus in the form of lungs.
  • Most reps can spawn.
  • A few produce ovoviviparous or viviparous.
  • Can live in an arid and dry place and live in two realms.

Currently, reptiles are grouped into four types, namely:

  • Order Crocodilia (crocodiles, crocodiles, caimans, gavials and alligators): about 23 species.
  • Order Sphenodontia (New Zealand tuatara): approx. 2 species.
  • Order Squamata (lizards, snakes and amphisbaenia ( worm-lizards ): about 7,900 species.
  • Order Testudinata (turtles, turtles and terrapins): about 300 species.

Because some reptiles are more closely related to birds than to other reptiles (crocodiles are more closely related to birds than to lizards), many modern scientists prefer to make Reptilia a monophyletic grouping and also include birds, which currently contain over 10,000 species.

The majority of reptiles are oviparous (lay eggs), although some Squamata species are viviparous (give birth). Viviparous reptiles feed their fetuses using a type of placenta similar to that of mammals. Reptiles vary in size, from up to 1.6 centimeters (little gecko, Sphaerodactylus ariasae ) to up to 6 meters and weighing up to 1 ton (saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus ). The branch of natural science that studies reptiles is herpetology.

Examples of Reptiles

The following are examples of reptiles including:

1. King Cobra

Lanang snake or king cobra ( Ophiophagus hannah ) is the longest venomous snake species in the world. This snake is endemic in parts of India to Southeast Asia. This snake is also one of India’s national reptiles. Local names for this snake include ” oray totog ” (Sunda), ” tedung selor ” or ” tedung selar ” (Malay), and ” ula anang ” (Java).

Hamadryas hannah is the scientific name first used by naturalist Theodore Edward Cantor in 1836 who described four specimens of male snakes, three specimens obtained from Sundarban, India, and one specimen obtained from Kolkata. The Naja bungarus taxon was proposed by Hermann Schlegel in 1837 who described a specimen of the male snake from Java. The taxon of the genus Ophiophagus was proposed by Albert Günther in 1864. This taxon was derived from the tendency of this snake to eat other snakes.

The male snake’s body length generally ranges from 3.18 to 4 meters. The longest specimen ever found was 5.85 meters long. Male snakes are larger than female snakes. The upper body (dorsal) is olive, yellowish brown, or grayish in color, with the head being lighter in color. The lower part of the body (ventral) is gray or brown, with a yellowish neck area decorated with blackish spots.

In young snakes, the body is darker or blackish in color, and is decorated with small white or yellowish stripes. Even so, these stripes are sometimes still visible as adults, although they are more subtle.

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The head of the male snake is large with a muzzle that tends to be short and blunt. Unlike other snakes in general, behind the pariental shields (scales) there is a pair of large occipital shields. There are 7 labial (lip) shields, some of which are in contact with the eyes. The pupils of the eyes are large and round.

The dorsal scales consist of as many as 15 rows in the middle of the body. Ventral scales as many as 215 to 262 pieces. Single anal scales, subcaudal scales as many as 80 to 120 pieces, some in the form of single scales and some in the form of paired scales.

The male snake is widespread from parts of India (Maharashtra, Karnataka (Dandeli), Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and the Andaman Islands), Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China (Fukien, Kwangtung, Hong Kong, Kwangsi, Hainan, Yunnan, SW Sichuan, Tibet), Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia (Sumatra, Mentawai Islands, Riau Islands, Bangka-Belitung , Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi), and the Philippines (Balabac, Jolo, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Cebu, Bohol, Samar).

Lanang snakes live in lowland areas up to an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. Its main habitat includes forests, swamps, bushland, agricultural land, and even around settlements. These snakes usually nest in earthen holes, piles of rocks, lush bushes, or between tree roots. This snake especially likes locations where bamboo grows and also mangrove forest areas.

2. Crocodile

Crocodiles are large-bodied reptiles that live in water. Scientifically, crocodiles include all species of members of the Crocodylidae tribe , including the sepit crocodile ( Tomistoma schlegelii ). However, this name can also be used loosely to refer to alligator, caiman and gavial crocodiles; namely relatives of crocodiles of different tribes.

Crocodiles generally inhabit freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, swamps and other wetlands. However, there are also those who live in brackish water such as estuarine crocodiles. Crocodile’s main food is vertebrates such as fish, reptiles and mammals, sometimes it also preys on mollusks and crustaceans depending on the species. Crocodiles are ancient animals, which have changed little due to evolution since the time of the dinosaurs.

3. Lizard

Lizards or bengkarung are a group of scaly reptiles with four legs (some species are legless and snake-like, but not snakes) which are very widespread in the world. Scientifically, this large group is known as the suborder or children of the Lacertilians (some literature mentions Sauria) which are members of the scaly reptile nation (Squamata) along with snakes.

In general, the term “lizard” or “bengkarung” (English: lizards ) also includes groups of lizards, geckos, chameleons, flying lizards, monitor lizards, iguanas, and others. Meanwhile, narrowly, the term lizard (and bengkarung) in Indonesian only refers to a group of lizards which are generally small in stature, dense, with smooth and shiny scales, and live on the ground (English: skink, i.e. all types of the Scincidae family, or species from the Scincomorpha infraorder).

Lizards generally have four legs, external ear holes, and eyelids that can be opened and closed. Even so, there are also types that do not have some of these characteristics. An example is the glass snake ( glass snake or glass lizard , tribe Anguidae) which does not have six physical legs so it resembles a snake, but can still be distinguished from a snake based on other characteristics.

4. Snake

Snakes are a group of legless and long-bodied reptiles that are widespread in the world. Scientifically, all types of snakes are grouped in one sub-order, namely Serpentes and are also members of the order Squamata (scaly reptiles) along with lizards. However, snakes (Serpentes) themselves are classified in the clade branch (Ophidia), namely a group of reptiles-reptiles with or without legs, have a long body, and have very different physiology from lizards.

Snakes are thought to have evolved from land lizards as early as the mid-Jurassic period (174.1-163.5 million years ago). The oldest known snake fossil, Eophis underwoodi , was a small snake that lived on the southern British mainland about 167 million years ago.

The main characteristics of snakes are long bodies and no legs. However, these characteristics are also shared by some types of lizards, for example (Burton’s pencil lizard). The next characteristic is that snakes have no sense of hearing at all. However, snakes can feel vibrations through their mandibles when they stick to the ground or on a surface.

Snakes do not have eyelids that can be opened and closed, and their eyes are kept open throughout their lives. Even so, the snake’s eyes are covered with clear scales that protect it from dirt. Another main feature is that the snake’s tongue is forked with each branch being long and pointed, and can be extended out through the cavity in the middle of the lips.

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5. Iguanas

Iguanas are a genus of lizards that live in the tropics of Central America, South America and the Caribbean islands. These lizards were first described by an Austrian zoologist, Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti in 1768. So far, the genus Iguana consists of only two species, namely the green iguana (Iguana iguana) and the Lesser Antilles iguana ( Iguana delicatissima ).

The term “iguana” is known to possibly originate from the Taino language (one of the Native American tribes) namely “iwana” which also refers to these lizards. Iguana body length between 1.5 meters to 1.8 meters, including the length of the tail. The characteristic feature of iguanas is that they have a crest (like roosters) under their jaws, as well as rows of scales forming large spines on their upper body, which run from the neck to the base of the tail.

In addition, iguanas also have eye-like organs on the top of their heads. The organ serves to analyze the light around it. Iguana body color varies, ranging from bright green, green-brown, moss green, yellowish green or grayish, or caramel brown. The iguana’s tail is the same color as the body and is decorated with black or dark stripes from base to tip.

Iguanas are well adapted as tree lizards and herbivorous lizards. However, they still need animal nutrition, usually by eating small insects in the plants they eat.

6. Tortoise

Turtles are scaly, four-legged animals that belong to the reptile group. The nation of animals called (order) Testudines (or Chelonians ) is distinctive and easily recognized by the presence of a hard and stiff “house” or shell ( bony shell ).

The tortoise shell consists of two parts. The upper part that covers the back is called the carapace and the lower part (ventral, stomach) is called the plastron. Then each part is composed of two layers. The outer layer is generally large and hard scales, and arranged like tiles; while the inner layer is in the form of bone plates tightly arranged like a shell. Exceptions are found in the turtle group (Trionychoidea) and leatherback turtles, whose outer layers are scaly and replaced by a layer of skin on the outside of their bony shells.

In Indonesian, we know three groups of animals that belong to this nation, namely turtles (English: sea turtles ), turtles or turtles ( freshwater turtles ), and turtles ( tortoises ). In English, distinguished again between land tortoises ( land tortoises ) and freshwater turtles ( freshwater tortoises or terrapins ).

7. Turtle

Sea turtles are sea turtles that are found in all the world’s oceans. According to data from scientists, turtles have existed since the end of the Jurassic period (145-208 million years ago) or are the same age as dhinosaurs. At that time, Archelon , which was six meters long, and Cimochelys were already swimming in ancient seas like today’s turtles.

Turtles have a pair of forelimbs in the form of rowers’ feet which give them the agility to swim in the water. Even though they have wandered in the water all their lives, the vertebrate group of animals, the reptile class, still has to occasionally rise to the surface of the water to take a breath. That’s because turtles breathe with lungs. Sea turtles generally migrate long distances in not too long a time. A distance of 3,000 kilometers can be covered in 58-73 days.

8. Komodo

Komodo dragons or complete Komodo dragons ( Varanus komodoensis ) are large monitor lizard species found on the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami in East Nusa Tenggara Province. This monitor lizard by the natives of the island of Komodo is also called by the local name “ora”. Another name for the Komodo dragon is land crocodile, although the Komodo dragon is not a species of crocodile.

Komodo dragons are the largest species in the Varanidae family , as well as the largest lizards in the world, with an average length of 2–3 meters and can weigh up to 100 kilograms. The Komodo dragon is the top predator in its habitat because so far there is no known large carnivore other than this monitor lizard anywhere in its geography.

Well, Readers. That’s a little story about reptiles. It turns out that the way these animals survive is very unique. However, even though most of these reptiles are wild animals, we must not hunt these animals so that the natural ecosystem is maintained.