What are the characteristics of Reptiles?

Characteristics of Reptiles

Reptiles are a diverse group of animals that include snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles. They are characterized by their cold-bloodedness, their scaly skin, and their ability to lay eggs.


Reptiles are cold-blooded, which means that their body temperature is regulated by their environment. This is in contrast to warm-blooded animals, such as mammals and birds, which can generate their own body heat. Reptiles rely on external heat sources, such as the sun, to warm their bodies.

Scaly skin

Reptiles have scaly skin that helps to protect them from the elements and from predators. Their scales are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human fingernails and hair.

reptile scaley skin

Ability to lay eggs

Reptiles lay eggs, which are typically covered in a hard shell. The eggs are usually deposited in a safe location, such as a nest or burrow. The eggs are incubated by the heat of the sun or by the body heat of the parent reptile.

reptile lay eggs

Other characteristics

In addition to these three main characteristics, reptiles also have a number of other distinguishing features, including:

  • A long, slender body
  • A lack of external ears
  • A single, median eye
  • A cloaca, which is a single opening that serves as the outlet for the digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems



Reptiles are found all over the world, in a wide variety of habitats. They play an important role in the ecosystem, as predators, prey, and decomposers.