Elmira Darden

Written by Elmira Darden

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Thesprucepets.com

Reptiles are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention of animal enthusiasts around the world. From snakes and turtles to lizards and crocodiles, reptiles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Keeping reptiles as pets has become a popular lifestyle choice for many people, offering a unique and rewarding experience.

In this article, we will delve into the world of reptile keeping and uncover 20 surprising facts that you may not be aware of. Whether you are a reptile owner, a reptile enthusiast, or simply curious about these scaly creatures, get ready to be amazed by the incredible world of reptiles.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reptiles are unique creatures that have been around for millions of years, with fascinating abilities like changing color, walking on water, and even having a third eye!
  • Keeping a reptile as a pet can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand their specific needs and provide them with the right environment and care.
Table of Contents

Reptiles are ectothermic animals.

Ectothermic animals, such as reptiles, rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. Unlike mammals, which are endothermic and generate their own body heat, reptiles depend on their environment to stay warm.

Some reptiles can live for a very long time.

Certain reptiles, like tortoises and turtles, have extraordinary lifespans. Some species can live for over a century, making them fascinating and long-lived companions.

Reptiles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

From tiny geckos that can fit on the tip of your finger to enormous snakes that can grow to be several meters long, the reptile kingdom encompasses an incredible diversity of shapes and sizes.

They have unique skin characteristics.

Reptiles have scaly skin that provides protection and helps reduce water loss. These scales are made of keratin, the same protein found in human hair and nails.

Reptiles play important roles in various ecosystems.

As predators, prey, and scavengers, reptiles contribute to the delicate balance of their ecosystems. For example, snakes help control rodent populations, while turtles and crocodiles play essential roles in aquatic ecosystems.

Some reptiles can change color.

Certain reptiles, such as chameleons and anoles, have the remarkable ability to change their skin coloration to camouflage themselves or communicate with others.

Reptiles have unique reproductive strategies.

Many reptiles lay eggs, while others give birth to live young. Additionally, some reptiles, like certain species of lizards, can reproduce through a process called parthenogenesis, where females can produce offspring without fertilization.

Reptiles have excellent regenerative abilities.

Some reptiles, such as certain species of lizards and geckos, can regenerate lost body parts, including tails and even parts of their hearts and brains.

Reptiles have a diverse diet.

Depending on the species, reptiles can be herbivorous, carnivorous, or omnivorous. For example, turtles are known for their herbivorous diet, while snakes primarily feed on other animals.

Reptiles are found on every continent except Antarctica.

From deserts to rainforests, reptiles have managed to adapt and thrive in various habitats around the world, with the notable exception of Antarctica.

Reptiles have a unique way of breathing.

Unlike mammals, which breathe exclusively through their lungs, many reptiles have a specialized respiratory system that allows them to extract oxygen from the air by using structures such as lungs, cloacas, and even specialized skin.

Reptiles have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.

Reptiles first appeared over 300 million years ago and coexisted with dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era. Today, they are considered living descendants of their ancient reptilian ancestors.

Certain reptiles can walk on water.

Some reptiles, like the basilisk lizard, have the ability to run across the surface of water for short distances. This unique adaptation is enabled by their specialized feet and rapid movement.

Reptiles have a unique way of thermoregulation.

Reptiles can regulate their body temperature by basking in the sun to warm up or seeking shade or burrows to cool down. They exhibit behavioral adaptations to maintain their internal body temperature within an optimal range.

Reptiles have a third eye.

Many reptiles, including lizards and tuataras, have a parietal eye, also known as a “third eye.” Although this eye is not capable of forming images, it allows the reptile to sense light and darkness and helps regulate their daily activity.

Some reptiles are venomous.

Venomous reptiles, such as certain species of snakes and lizards, possess specialized glands that produce venom. This venom is used to immobilize or kill prey and can vary in potency and effect.

Reptiles have unique locomotion methods.

Reptiles have evolved various ways of moving, including crawling, slithering, swimming, and even flying. Each reptile species has adapted its locomotion method to suit its habitat and lifestyle.

Reptiles have a low metabolic rate.

Compared to mammals, reptiles generally have a slower metabolism, allowing them to survive for longer periods without food. This adaptation is especially useful in environments where resources are scarce.

Reptiles have complex courtship rituals.

During the mating season, many reptiles engage in intricate courtship displays, which can involve displays of color, head-bobbing, and various vocalizations, depending on the species.

Reptiles can make great pets.

With proper care and husbandry, many reptiles can thrive in captivity and make fascinating and rewarding pets. They require specific environmental conditions and diets, so it’s important to research and understand their individual needs before deciding to keep one as a pet.


Reptile keeping is a fascinating hobby that offers many surprising facts. From their unique adaptations to their diverse behaviors, reptiles have long captured the attention and curiosity of animal enthusiasts. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the lesser-known aspects of reptile keeping, encouraging more people to appreciate and understand these incredible creatures.


1. What types of reptiles make good pets?

There are several reptiles that make great pets, including bearded dragons, leopard geckos, corn snakes, and ball pythons. Each has different care requirements, so do your research beforehand.

2. How long do reptiles typically live?

The lifespan of a reptile varies greatly depending on the species. Some may only live for a few years, while others can live for several decades. For example, bearded dragons can live up to 10-15 years, while certain turtles can live for over 50 years.

3. What kind of enclosure do reptiles need?

The type of enclosure needed will depend on the specific needs of the reptile species. Most reptiles require a terrarium with certain temperature and humidity levels, appropriate lighting, and ample space for movement and enrichment.

4. What do reptiles eat?

Reptiles have varied diets depending on their species. Some reptiles are herbivores and require a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, while others are carnivores and eat insects, small mammals, or other reptiles.

5. Are reptiles dangerous to keep as pets?

Generally, reptiles are not dangerous if they are properly handled and cared for. However, certain large or venomous species require more experience and knowledge to safely keep as pets. Always research the specific needs and characteristics of the reptile species before deciding to keep one as a pet.

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