Some people confuse amphibians with reptiles. Let’s take a look at each of these animals.
- Examples include: frogs, toads, newts and salamanders.
- The word “amphibian” means “two lives.” Their lives are in water and on land.
- They lay their jelly-covered eggs in the water.
- When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles have gills to breathe oxygen in the water. They look different than their parents.
- A frog’s life cycle consists of: eggs, tadpoles, froglets, mature frogs.
- The tadpoles undergo metamorphosis to become adults. They develop lungs and legs, and their tail shrinks.
- Mature frogs live near water and have lungs to breathe air.
- Classification: Kingdom – Animal. Phylum – Chordata. Class – Amphibia.
Since we’re discussing amphibians, let’s compare frogs and toads.
- Smooth, moist skin.
- No warts.
- Long hind legs for hopping.
- Toads have rough, drier skin.
- Toads have warts.
- They have broader bodies with short hind legs. They walk instead of hopping.
Okay, let’s move on to reptiles.
- Examples include: crocodiles, alligators, snakes, and turtles.
- Reptiles live on land or water.
- They lay their eggs on land.
- When the eggs hatch on land, the hatchlings have lungs to breath oxygen in the air. They look like their parents, only smaller.
- The life cycle consists of: eggs, hatchlings, mature adults. Hatchlings do not experience metamorphosis.
- Their skin is dry and scaly.
- They molt, or shed, their skin as they grow. A turtle’s shell makes new shell layers as it grows.
- Classification: Kingdom – Animal. Phylum – Chordata. Class – Reptilia.
Now that we’ve compared amphibians with reptiles, let’s examine some reptiles. What’s the difference between crocodiles and alligators?
- Found in Africa (example, the Nile crocodile) and Florida.
- Attracted to brackish water or salt water.
- Lighter color than alligators.
- Considered more aggressive than alligators.
- Classification: Order — Crocodilia. Family — Crocodylidae
- Found in the USA and China.
- Attracted to freshwater.
- Darker color than crocodiles.
- Classification: Order — Crocodilia. Family — Alligatoridae.
After you’ve learned the basic differences between amphibians and reptiles, you can explore on your own and learn some more about these fascinating creatures.