Animal Kingdom

Difference Between Reptiles and Amphibians

What's the difference?

People often get reptiles and amphibians confused with each other, but there is a major discrepancy between the two. But don't be confused, there are similarities between the two. And we will explain below.

differences between Reptiles and Amphibians


  1. Respiration: All breathing is via lungs, however aquatic turtles have the ability to do a limited gas exchange underwater primarily during extended periods of cold temperature or inactivity. This condition is called brumation.
  2. Feeding: Snakes are able to disjoin their upper and lower jaw to accommodate swallowing large prey whole.
  3. Neck Vertebra: Multiple vertebra in the neck, allowing articulation.
  4. Skin: Dry, scaly, watertight skin. Exposed parts are covered by bony scutes.
  5. Reproduction: Leathery, soft or hard eggs laid on land or maintained inside the body until hatching. The reptile egg is self-contained and protects the embryo from dehydration.
  6. Metamorphosis (profound change in form): Reptiles have no larval stages.
  7. Longevity: Some tortoises have reportedly lived more than 180 years. The popular smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis) are reportedly living up to 15 years in captivity.
  8. Defense: Three layers of protection are normally used by reptiles.
  9. Avoidance: This is where the reptile evades danger through playing dead or retreats into a protective shell.
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  1. Respiration: Breathing via gills, lungs or through the skin which is called cutaneous respiration. Their vascularised skin must be moist for this to work. The Lung less salamander (Plethodontidae) conducts respiration through cutaneous means and tissues within its mouth.
  2. Feeding: Amphibians attempt to swallow their food whole but some have exclusive teeth called pedicellate teeth.
  3. Neck Vertebra: Single vertebra in the neck which limits head articulation.
  4. Skin: Moist, smooth or rough skin sometimes with sticky mucous glands that secret waterproof coating to keep skin moist. Oxygen and CO2 can be exchanged through their skin.
  5. Reproduction: Soft eggs normally laid in water or in damp media. The amphibian egg is a yolk sac enveloped in one or more layers of a clear, jelly-like covering. The egg capsule is permeable to water and gases.
  6. Metamorphosis (profound change in form): Most amphibians use gills while developing their lungs. Some salamanders such as the mudpuppy (Necturus maculousus) retain their gills throughout their lives which is called neoteny.
  7. Longevity: Andrias japonicus lacks natural predators and is speculated to live about 80 years. The Rana catesbeiana lives about eight years.
  8. Defense:
  1. Avoidance: Nocturnal activity and aposematic coloration by many amphibians helps avoid predation.
  2. Warning: Slippery skin makes it difficult for a predator to grasp. When grabbed, the amphibian secrets a vile tasting, sometimes toxic substance through the skin, hopefully resulting in rejection by a predator. Tetradotoxin, produced and released through the skin by newts is deadly to reptiles, fish, birds and mammals ingesting the substance.
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