Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates which breathe by lungs and have the body covered by scales, the skull articulates with the vertebral column by a single median occipitial condyle. Through these characters they can be distinguished from other vertebrates. They were the dominant group during the Mesozoic period. Of the 19 orders of reptiles 4 survive today.
The Reptile fauna of India is unique in its diversity.
Crocodiles are large, lizard like amphibious reptile found in large lakes, swamps, marshes and rivers. The heavily armored body, with its long and strong muscular tail is well adapted to rapid swimming.
Turtles are the only reptiles which have a shell. The dome like shell is composed of two parts: carapace and plastron, they are toothless but have a beak with horny sheaths. They are omnivorous.
Lizards have a short body with four well developed limbs, a short, flat tongue and an external ear-opening. Most of the lizards can change color depending on the light, temperature and the mood of animal. In size Indian lizards range from 5 cm to 250 cm. There are no venomous lizards in India.
Snakes have elongated bodies which are covered with scales. They lack movable eyes and functional legs. They do not have external ear-opening and so they can not hear but of course pick up the earth – borne sound vibration through their sensitive bodies.