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Reptile Day

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Reptile Awareness Day
Clip Art of a Komodo Dragon and a snake for Reptile Day
Dixie Allan

Reptile Awareness Day is always celebrated on October 21. Every year, reptile fanatics have a day that they can celebrate and share their passion – a chance to educate others who may not know about the amazing creatures called reptiles, and the habitat loss and threat of extinction that faces so many reptile species.

There are four main groups of reptiles: turtles and tortoises; lizards and snakes; crocodiles and alligators; and the tuatara, the only species left from an ancient group of reptiles that goes back to the dinosaurs. Some reptiles spend most of their time in water, like crocodiles, alligators, turtles, some species of snakes and some lizard species. Many spend their time on land, and reptile species can be found in all types of habitats except for the polar ice and tundra.

Reptiles are vertebrates, they have scaly skin that keeps their bodies from drying out. Reptiles are ectotherms, so they must bask in the sun or find a warm spot to get warm and become active, and they must find shade or a cool spot to cool off. In cold conditions they become sluggish and don't move around much

There are more than 6,500 known species of reptiles. The heaviest is the saltwater crocodile Crocodylidae porosus, weighing up to 2,200 pounds. The smallest is the dwarf gecko Sphaerodactylus ariasae, measuring only 3/4 of an inch. The longest snake is the reticulated python Python reticulatus, at up to 33 feet long. The largest lizard is the Komodo dragon Varanus komodoensis, weighing up to 175 pounds and measuring up to 10 feet long.

Reptiles may be a little scarry to some but they play an important role in the environment. Take a few minutes to get familiar with the creatures called reptiles and you will appreciate them for their role in the "circle of life."

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