Reptiles are probably as easily defined by what they aren't as by what they are.
As opposed to mammals and birds, reptiles have scales rather than fur or feathers. They also have dry, water-proof skin.
If it's not furred, feathered or slimy, it is most likely a reptile.
Reptiles are known as 'cold-blooded' animals.
This does not mean their blood is cold, but rather they cannot regulate their own body temperature and rely on the surrounding environment to control how hot or cold they are.
For example, a cold lizard needs to bask in the sun to get warm and move into the shade when it becomes hot.
Due to this, reptiles are generally found in the warmer parts of Victoria, although a few have adapted to cold and even snowy areas.
There are many different reptiles.
In Victoria we have:
- eighty-seven species of lizard
- fifty-two skinks
- twelve dragons
- eleven legless lizards
- nine geckos
- three monitors (goannas)
- twenty-seven species of snake.
Did you know?
- Snakes shed their skin up to four times a year and are able to dislocate their jaws to swallow prey.
- Snakes smell with their tongue. They flick their tongue in and out of their mouth to collect chemicals in the air which helps them to find food and mates.
- Reptiles can go without food for days or even months.
- Many reptiles have a transparent scale over their eyes to provide protection and prevent moisture loss.
- Some goannas can grow up to two meters long and are excellent swimmers.
- Shingleback lizards have a tail that looks like its head to confuse predators. If the predator bites off its tail, it will slowly grow back.
Download the following fact sheets for interesting facts and information on some of Victoria's reptile species: