You currently have JavaScript disabled on this browser/device. JavaScript must be enabled in order for this website to function properly.

ZingPath: Vertebrates

General Characteristics of Reptiles

Searching for


Learn in a way your textbook can't show you.
Explore the full path to learning Vertebrates

Lesson Focus

General Characteristics of Reptiles


Learning Made Easy

You get to find interesting information about the major groups of animals that have backbones. While discovering the features that make these groups unique, also learn about the evolution of the heart.

Over 1,200 Lessons: Get a Free Trial | Enroll Today

Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain the general characteristics of reptiles.
  • Give examples of reptiles.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What characteristics does the skin of reptiles have?

~ Reptiles have tough skin made of keratin scales or plates. It keeps water out and bodily fluids in. It also provides reptiles with additional strength.

How is a reptile's body temperature controlled?

~ A reptile's body temperature is mainly determined by its outside environment. Because the three-chambered heart allows some mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, reptiles do not have the metabolic efficiency to maintain their internal body temperature, and thus are considered cold-blooded.

How are reptiles different from amphibians?

~ Though amphibians and reptiles can both survive on land or in water, amphibians are adapted to live mostly in water. Reptiles are adapted to live mostly on land.

What is unique about the crocodile's heart compared to other reptiles?

~ Crocodiles have a four-chamber heart similar to that of mammals and birds. All other reptiles have hearts with only three chambers. However, there is a small opening called the foramen of Panizza that allows some mixing of blood. So crocodiles provide important evidence for the evolution of the four-chambered heart from the three-chambered heart.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to anatomy, biology, and circulatory system.
Course Biology
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary anatomy, biology, circulatory system