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Reptiles are cold-blooded. Their body temperature stays the same as the outside temperature around them. In hot places most reptiles look for shady areas during the day. Many species are active at night. In cold regions reptiles hibernate during the winter months.
Reptiles can be small or large, heavy or lightweight. Pythons are snakes that can grow more than 9 metres long. Turtles can weigh more than 1000 kg. On the other hand, some lizards are not more than 5 cm long.
Reptiles live all over the world, except in Antarctica. Most reptile species can be found in tropic and subtopic regions. Many types of lizards like the hot , dry desert areas. Some turtles and snakes spend most of their life in oceans.
Although many people are afraid of reptiles, most of them are harmless and don’t attack human beings. Some, however, are dangerous, like crocodiles or snakes with poisonous bites.
People hunt reptiles for their skin. It is used to make leather products like belts, shoes or handbags.
A reptile’s body
The skin of a reptile has scales. Some animals lose their old scales and grow new ones two or three times a year .
Turtles have very hard scales called plates. They use them as a kind of protection from enemies in the outside world.
The digestive system of a reptile depends on what kind of food it eats.
Meat eaters have a very simple stomach and a short intestine. Plant eaters, like turtles, have a more complicated stomach and long intestines. Crocodiles have large stomach muscles because they have to chew the flesh they eat into small pieces.
Some reptiles produce poison. They bite their attackers and inject poison into them. The victim may be paralyzed or even killed.
Most reptiles have a good sense of vision. Not all of them can hear well. Some of them hear by feeling vibrations on the ground.
Reptiles breathe through their lungs. They normally have two lungs , but some snakes only have one.
How reptiles live
Male reptiles release their sperm inside a female. The sperm gets to the female’s egg inside her body. This is called fertilization. These new eggs later become new reptiles.
Turtles, crocodiles, as well as some lizards and snakes lay eggs that have hard shells. When they are laid in warm places they hatch more easily. Some reptiles keep their eggs in their babies until they hatch.
Only a few species of reptiles care for their eggs or their babies. Some of them wrap their body around the eggs to protect them.
Most reptiles eat other animals, however some lizards and turtles eat mainly plants. They usually grab their food and chew it or swallow it whole. Some crocodiles drown other animals before eating them.
Snakes and some other reptiles bite their victims and poison them before they eat them. Pythons and many kinds of snakes wrap their bodies tightly around their prey, so that they can’t breathe anymore and die.
Reptiles can live for a long time without food—sometimes even for weeks.
Reptiles can defend themselves from other animals in many ways. Lizards can change the colour of their skin to avoid attacks. Some snakes lie on the ground and play dead until an attacker goes away. Crocodiles use their powerful tail as a whip , that can hurt or even kill other animals.
Reptiles hibernate in winter by burrowing themselves deep into the ground or sliding between rocks. They stay there until it gets warmer. Before they go to sleep for the winter, they eat lots of food and grow some fat.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
- Reptiles- True or False (1)
- Reptiles- True or False (2)
- Reptiles - Vocabulary Matching
- Reptiles - Crossword
- Reptiles - Fill in the missing words
- avoid = to prevent something from happening
- belt = a band of leather that you wear around your waist to hold your clothes
- breathe = to get air into your lungs
- burrow = to dig a hole in the ground
- care for = look after
- chew = to bite something many times before you swallow it
- common = very normal, usual
- defend = to do something to protect yourself
- digestive system =the organs that change food that you have eaten into material that the body can use
- fertilization =here: to make a new animal
- flesh = the soft part of a person or an animal
- grab = to take hold of quickly
- hatch = when a baby animal comes out of an egg
- hibernate = to sleep the whole winter
- intestine = a long tube in your body through which the food goes after it leaves your stomach
- lightweight = not very heavy
- lizard = a reptile that has four legs and a long tail
- paralyze = if you cannot move any more
- plate = a thin, hard piece of skin
- poisonous =deadly, full of poison
- prey = an animal that is hunted and eaten by another animal
- protect =defend, guard
- protection =defence, safety
- release = to let go
- scales = small , flat pieces of skin that cover the bodies of reptiles
- shady = a place that is not in the sun
- shell = the hard part of an egg
- slide = glide
- species = a group of animals that look the same
- sperm = a cell from a male animal that can join with a female egg to produce new life
- swallow = to make something go down your throat
- victim =a person or animal that has been attacked
- vision = the ability to see
- weigh =how heavy something is
- whip = a thin piece of rope or leather with which you can hit someone
- wrap =bind around