Amphibians and Reptiles

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.

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