Reptiles are defined by common characteristics including breathing air, laying eggs and having skins covered in scales. In all, there are over 8,000 species of reptiles, divided into 4 main types: Crocodilia, Sphenodontia, Squamata and Testudines.
There are currently about 23 species of Crocodilia, a type of reptile that includes crocodiles, gharials, caimans and alligators. These reptiles are mainly found in Australia, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The specific reptiles in this group include American Alligator, Nile Crocodile, Spectacled Caiman and the Gharial. The smallest Crocodilia is the Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman and the largest is the Saltwater Crocodile. This reptile group has a distinct semi-sprawled walk that allows for land gallops when needed. Alligators and caimans are sometimes confused with crocodiles but have wider, shorter heads and a U-shaped rather than V-shaped snout.
The smallest of the types of reptiles, the Sphenodontia used to be known for its diversity of species. Now only the Tuatara remains, a reptile that is related to snakes and lizards, and looks like a type of lizard.
With almost 8,000 species belonging to this group, the Squamata are different types of snakes and lizards. For example, there are the chameleons, iguanas and geckoes for the lizards, and cobra, constrictors and pythons for the snakes. This group varies widely in sizes, from 16mm to 8metres, and possess quadrate bones which allow them to open their mouths widely – which is why snakes can consume comparatively large prey.
These are turtles and tortoises, and there are around 300 different reptiles in this group. Turtles include Mud, Pond, and Snapping Turtles as well as River Terrapin, and tortoises include Impressed, Leopard and Desert Turtles. This group consists of some of the oldest living reptiles, and only the Tuatara is known to be older.
Aquapet supply a full range of glass reptile vivariums with metal mesh removable tops and front sliding glass doors to match all budgets and requirements.
Chris D Taylor