Reptiles: Species and Common Characteristics

Photos of Anoles, Chamelons, Geckos, Alligators, Turtles, and Snakes

Reptiles, with their tough skin and hard-shelled eggs, were the first group of vertebrates to fully sever the bonds with aquatic habitats and colonize the land to an extent that amphibians never could. Modern reptiles are a diverse bunch and include snakes, amphisbaenians, lizards, crocodilians, turtles and tuatara. Below is a collection of pictures and photographs of a variety of reptiles to help you become better acquainted with this remarkable group of animals.

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Anole - Polychrotidae

Brian Dunne / Shutterstock.

Anoles (Polychrotidae) are a group of small lizards that are common in the southeastern United States and throughout the islands of the Caribbean.

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Chameleon - Chamaeleonidae

Pieter Janssen / Shutterstock.

Chameleons (Chamaeleonidae) have unique eyes. Their scale-covered eyelids are cone-shaped and have a small, round opening through which they see. They can move their eyes independently of one another and are able to focus on two different objects simultaneously.

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Eyelash Viper

Eyelash viper - Bothriechis schlegelii


The eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) is a venomous snake that inhabits the low altitude tropical forests of Central and South America. The eyelash viper is a nocturnal, tree-dwelling snake that feeds primarily on small birds, rodents, lizards and amphibians.

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Galapagos Land Iguana

Galapagos land iguana - Conolophus subcristatus

Craig Ruaux / Shutterstock.

The Galapagos land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus) is a large lizard reaching lengths in excess of 48in. The Galapagos land iguana is dark brown to yellow-orange in color and has large pointed scales that run along its neck and down its back. Its head is blunt in shape and it has a long tail, substantial claws, and a heavy body.

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Turtles - Testudines

Dhoxax / Shutterstock.

Turtles (Testudines) are a unique group of reptiles that first appeared about 200 million years ago during the late Triassic. Since that time, turtles have changed little and it is quite possible that modern turtles closely resemble those that roamed the Earth during the time of the dinosaurs.

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Giant Ground Gecko

Giant ground gecko - Chondrodactylus angulifer

Ecoprint / Shutterstock.

The giant ground gecko (Chondrodactylus angulifer) inhabits the Kalahari Desert in South Africa.

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American Alligator

American alligator - Alligator mississippiensis

LaDora Sims / Getty Images.

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is one of only two living species of alligators (the other being the Chinese alligator). The American alligator is native to the Southeastern United States.

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Rattlesnake - Crotalus and Sistrurus

Danihernanz / Getty Images.

Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes native to North and South America. Rattlesnakes are subdivided into two genera, the Crotalus and the Sistrurus. Rattlesnakes are so named for the rattle in their tail that is shaken to discourage intruders when the snake is threatened.

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Komodo Dragon

Komodo dragon - Varanus komodoensis

Barry Kusuma / Getty Images.

Komodo dragons are carnivores and scavengers. They are the top carnivores in their ecosystems. Komodo dragons occasionally capture live prey by hiding in ambush and then charging their victims, although their primary food source is carrion.

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Marine Iguana

Marine iguana - Amblyrhynchus cristatus

Steve Allen / Getty Images.

Marine iguanas are endemic to the Galapagos Islands. They are unique among iguanas because they feed on marine algae that they gather while foraging in the cold waters surrounding the Galapagos.

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Green Turtle

Green turtle - Chelonia mydas

Michael Gerber / Getty Images.

Green sea turtles are pelagic turtles and are distributed throughout the tropical, subtropical, and temperate seas around the world. They are native to the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean.

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Frilled Leaf-Tail Gecko

Frilled leaf-tail gecko - Uroplatus fimbriatus

Gerry Ellis / Getty Images.

Leaf-tail geckos like this one are a genus of geckos endemic to the forests of Madagascar and its nearby islands. Leaf-tail geckos grow to about 6 inches in length. Their tail is flattened and shaped like a leaf (and is the inspiration for the species' common name).

Leaf-tail geckos are nocturnal reptiles and have large eyes that are well suited for foraging in the dark. Leaf-tale geckos are oviparous, which means they reproduce by laying eggs. Each year at the end of the rainy season, females lay a clutch of two eggs on the ground amongst dead leaves and litter.

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Klappenbach, Laura. "Reptiles: Species and Common Characteristics." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Klappenbach, Laura. (2020, August 26). Reptiles: Species and Common Characteristics. Retrieved from Klappenbach, Laura. "Reptiles: Species and Common Characteristics." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).