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Difference between Amphibians and Reptiles

Animals are classified under several categories: herbivores, carnivores, reptiles, amphibians, insects, omnivores, etc. These are just some of the classifications. Nature has given us a variety of creatures. Humans are just one type of creature differentiated by their behavior, attitude, habits, etc. But animals are one such species that are distinguished based on their looks, appearance, eating habits, etc. The fundamental difference between them is of their appearance. Some animals live in water, some on land, and some in both. So today, we will be discussing about two significant kinds of animals, i.e., amphibians and reptiles. Amphibians and reptiles have some major contrasting points between them, which we will be discussing later. Before that, let us focus on knowing the primary meaning of these terms.

Difference between Amphibians and Reptiles


Amphibians are defined as small vertebrates that need a moist environment for sustenance. Examples of amphibians include toads, frogs, salamanders, etc. Amphibians are capable of absorbing water and breathing through their skin. Amphibians come from the category called 'amphibia,' which are cold-blooded animals. These animals generally have soft and moist skin. The most common types of amphibians are toads, frogs, salamanders, caecilians, etc. The major characteristics of amphibians are that they have external egg fertilization, are cold-blooded, they have vertebrates, etc. According to some sources, Ichthyostega was the first amphibian found on the planet. This creature was found in Greenland about 300 million years ago. Another amphibian called Elginerpeton was also discovered 360 million years ago. Now, amphibians have been known to survive in various habitats. They are found in forests, meadows, rivers, streams, lakes, etc. They can adapt themselves to any kind of habitat. They are even seen surviving in the farmlands. Well, according to some sources, around 168 species of amphibians have already gone extinct, and the present rates are declining as well. Amphibians are known to live for about 300 million years, but they are alarmingly on the verge of decline.


Reptiles are defined as cold-blooded creatures who have scales in their body with which they can move. These are air-breathing vertebrates. Examples of reptiles include snakes, turtles, crocodiles, tortoises, lizards, etc. Reptiles have a slow metabolism, and they seek heat. These creatures give birth by laying eggs, and they feed on other animals for their survival. They majorly live on land because they need heat for sustenance. Some of the significant characteristics of reptiles are that they produce shelled eggs, are covered with scales, are cold-blooded, and have at least one lung for breathing. Reptiles are known to have dry skin, which protects them from having fatal injuries. Saltwater reptiles are the largest living reptiles on earth. They are 23 feet long and weigh over 2300 pounds. Reptiles are found everywhere except for Antarctica. Reptiles live in various habitats, but majorly they reside in oceans, seas, etc. Some reptiles like lizards are terrestrial, so they are found in deserts, trees, rainforests, etc. Hylonomus was the first reptile having a length of 20-30 cm. Now, let us discuss about some of the contrasting points between reptiles and amphibians.

1. Amphibians are defined as cold-blooded vertebrates that live in a moist environment for their sustenance. On the other hand, reptiles are defined as creatures that live on land or in underground burrows for their survival.
2. Ichthyostega and Elginerpeton were the first two amphibians discovered over 360 million years ago. Hylonomus was the first-ever reptile discovered, having a length of 20 centimeters.
3. Amphibians live in water or land, and they breathe through their skin. Reptiles majorly live on land and seek as much heat as they can because they are cold-blooded creatures.
4. Some amphibians, like tadpoles, do not have lungs, and they breathe and absorb oxygen through their wet skin. Reptiles have scales and at least one lung for breathing.
5. The eggs of the amphibians are not shelled. They lay their eggs in water. Reptiles lay their eggs on land or underground. Their eggs have hard shells that prove to be a protective layer against injuries or natural calamities.
6. Amphibians are oviparous. Reptiles are viviparous and oviparous.
7. The process of fertilization in amphibians is external. The process of fertilization in reptiles is internal.
8. Amphibians have a three-chambered heart. Reptiles, too, have a three-chambered heart, but the ventricle is separated.
9. Amphibians secrete toxins that protect them from becoming prey. Reptiles have dry skin and scales that protect them from fatal injuries. They secrete toxins through their nails and teeth.
10. Amphibians have webbed feet, which help them in swimming. Reptiles have scales that help them in swimming as well as running.
11. Amphibians are not able to differentiate between colors. Reptiles are able to differentiate between colors.
12. Examples:
  • Toads
  • Frogs
  • Salamanders
  • Ectotherm
  • Newts
  • Caecilians
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Turtles
  • Crocodiles
  • Komodo Dragon
  • Saltwater Crocodile
  • Black Mamba

So, these are some of the significant contrasting points between amphibians and reptiles. Now, both amphibians and reptiles have several characteristics through which they can survive under harsh conditions. So, let us take a look at them.

Characteristics of Amphibians

  1. Amphibians are capable of living on land as well as in water.
  2. They are found in warm and moist environments.
  3. Amphibians may or may not have tails. Their body is classified in head and trunk.
  4. They have smooth skin and do not have scales.
  5. Some amphibians have unpaired fins.
  6. A pair of limbs is present in amphibians.
  7. Ten pairs of cranial nerves are present in amphibians.
  8. Except for salamanders, the fertilization process is external.

Characteristics of Reptiles

  1. Reptiles have a backbone, and they are cold-blooded vertebrates.
  2. The bodies of reptiles are covered with scales.
  3. The eggs they produce have a protective layer of a hard shell.
  4. Reptiles do not have glands.
  5. Their body is segregated into neck, head, trunk, and tail.
  6. They breathe through their lungs.
  7. Twelve pairs of cranial nerves are present in reptiles.
  8. All reptiles have ears except for snakes.
  9. Reptiles are majorly oviparous. Their eggs are yolky.

So, these are some of the characteristics of amphibians and reptiles. Both reptiles and amphibians can be found in several habitats. The major difference between them is that the reptiles live on land and amphibians live in water as well as on land. But unfortunately, both these species are on the verge of extinction. Therefore, it is essential to save them because they contribute to flora and fauna in their own way. Thus, amphibians and reptiles are some of the extinct but important creatures of the planet.

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