Reptiles are a class of vertebrates made up mostly of snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodilians. These animals are most easily recognized by their dry, scaly skin. Almost all reptiles are cold-blooded, and most lay eggs—though some, like the boa constrictor, give birth to live young. Instead of possessing gills like fish or amphibians, reptiles have lungs for breathing.

The United States is home to a diverse range of reptiles. Today these animals face threats including habitat destruction, pollution, and overexploitation. Species such as the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and the Puerto Rican boa are currently categorized as endangered under the U.S. endangered species list.

Northern Water Snake


Limbless reptiles with long, tapered bodies

Black Rat Snake Louisiana Pine Snake
Northern Water Snake Puerto Rican Boa
Eastern Fence Lizard

Lizards and Crocodilians

Long-bodied reptiles with limbs and tapered tails

American Alligator Eastern Fence Lizard
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