There’s often some confusion about the difference between reptiles and amphibians. However, these two groups of animals are quite different, and once you know what to look for the difference can be easy to spot.
In this blog post: reptiles vs amphibians
Table of Contents
The similarities between amphibians and reptiles
Reptiles and amphibians have a lot in common. In fact, they have so much in common that in the past they both fell under the reptiles class. Since the differences were discovered though, amphibians were separated from reptiles and now have their own class.
So, what are some of these similarities between amphibians and reptiles?
Even though some of the largest differences between these two kinds of animals are to do with their eggs, they are both animals that lay eggs. This separates them from mammals and is one of the similarities between both reptiles and amphibians.
Both amphibians and reptiles tend to have good eyesight and hunt mostly using their sight. Obviously, there are always going to be a few exceptions, but the majority of both animal’s hunt using sight.
Both reptiles and amphibians are cool-blooded. This means that they don’t produce enough heat internally for the processes in the body (especially digestion) to function properly. Both amphibians and reptiles use thermoregulation to control their body temperatures, and hibernation and basking are behaviors that are common amongst both of these animals, depending on where in the world their habitat is.
There are many more similarities regarding skin coloration, hunting, numbers of limbs (or what they descended from) and so on, but we’re just going to cover the most important ones in this article.
The differences between reptiles and amphibians
The differences between reptiles and amphibians are what most people tend to be interested in. We can all see the similarities, but the differences between amphibians and reptiles are the reason why they are classed as a different kind of animal…
We’ve already covered the similarities in the fact that they both lay eggs, but there are also important differences between their egg laying which clearly sets them apart. To start with, reptiles lay their eggs on land whereas amphibians lay their eggs in the water.
As well as this, amphibians lay jelly-like eggs whereas reptiles lay eggs with a hard shell. This difference in the kind of egg they lay is another big difference between these two kinds of animal.
How reptiles and amphibians differ isn’t always as obvious, and their skin is one of them. You may have noticed that amphibians tend to have wet skin while reptiles had dry skin. But there’s more than meets the eye.
Reptiles actually have scales (there are certain morphs and breeds that don’t, but these are exceptions to the rule) whereas amphibians don’t. These scales are often hard and tough and cater to a reptiles life on land.
We’ll get into the larvae stage of amphibians in the next point, but they way that tadpoles breathe (as well as other amphibian larvae) is much different than reptiles do. All reptiles breathe air through the lungs (except for some tortoises, but again, these are an exception). However, (most) amphibians start of life breathing through gills!
We’ve already started this in the previous part of the post, but reptiles are born in the form they are once grown up. Amphibians develop and change as they grow up in something that’s called metamorphosis.
Apart from this change being extremely remarkable in a scientific sense, it’s also what sets amphibians apart from reptiles! We’ll do a post about why this is so magnificent in the future.
There are a lot of reptiles and amphibians in the world. However, there are a lot of amphibians that have an extremely hard time getting traction when it comes to reproduction. There are already a lot of amphibians which are extinct in the wild, and it is thought that about half of all amphibian species on earth are classed as endangered!
Reptiles do face some of the same problems, but they seem to be doing a lot better than amphibians are. Even though it’s slightly off-topic, but fishless ponds can really help amphibians thrive. If you’re in an area where amphibians call home, why not get a small pond in your garden for them to enjoy and reproduce in?
The linnaean system
We’ve approached the age-old debate about reptiles vs amphibians from the Linnaean system. This is a biological system that classes animals based on certain characteristics. This is really the only way we can sort the two, as you’ll find out in a bit!
The phylogenetic system
This system focuses on which animals the animals in question descended from. When viewing the differences between reptiles and amphibians through this system, they are much more similar. Actually, even us mammals and birds could technically be classed as reptiles!
As you can see, there’s a clear difference between reptiles and amphibians. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be able to clearly and extensively explain the differences between reptiles vs amphibians.
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