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  Reptiles
 


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.

 
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The flicking tongue is a sensory organ. The teeth are needle like and pointed backward. Poisonous snakes have hypodermic needle like fangs used for injecting the venom. All the snakes hunt and eat live animal prey Reticulated Python is the largest snakes of India which grows to be 10 m long and the king cobra which attains the record length of 5 mete and is the biggest poisonous snake of the world. Common worm snake is the smallest snakes with 30 cm length. Of about 270 species of snake of India, some 52 are venomous .
Reptiles are a most important group of predators, the interaction of which maintains the natural balance in the forests and Deserts Rivers and lakes and plains and hills of India. Crocodiles are master predators and play a key role in recycling of nutrients. Turtles are not mere animals worship but they play a vital role in keeping a check on the growth of water weeds.
Lizards mostly feed on different kinds of insects, snake perform a ecological role by controlling the population of rates, mice and rodents there is no vegetarian snake in nature.
A great no of living reptiles of India are slowly disappearing mainly due to the increasing human interference. Not only are reptile deprived of their habitat but their direct persecution and slaughter are intensified by the rapid growth of industrialization and land exploitation
 
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