Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and amphibians are similar to each other, while there are sometimes certain similarities between them. In both cases, they are ectothermic animals, means they are cold-blooded. Reptiles and amphibians are also vertebrates and with the exception of crocodiles and other wineries, about all amphibians and reptiles have a 3-chambered heart.

How are reptiles and amphibians different?

Despite all the above discussion, there are some differences between reptiles and amphibians and we will tell you what they are. The major difference b/w reptiles and amphibians are that reptiles are the cold-blooded animal who possesses dry, scaly skin and ray shelled egg on the land, and reptiles can live in the water while require to come to the surface to breathe oxygen. On the other hand, amphibians are cold-blooded animals that possess an aquatic gill breathing larval stage and terrestrial, lung breathing adult stages, and can live in water or land, can breathe by the skin in water. Both are cold-blooded, mostly vertebrates, and about all have a three-chambered heart which makes them unique animals.


They live their life on land. While we have indicated with amphibians, there are reptiles that can survive in water but can not live in this element. However, reptiles are born on land, and from the first moment, the young are independent of their mothers. Reptiles tend to have dry, scaly skin and breathe through the lungs. They are more numerous in species than amphibians. It is estimated that there are about 6,400 different species that are distributed throughout the planet. Reptiles are able to adapt to several/many climates and many of them can be very dangerous for other animals such as humans. Their name comes from the word ‘reptile’ which means ‘the one that crawls’ or ‘the one that slides’. Unlike amphibians, young reptiles do not normally have changes while they grow, only in their size. Amphibians, Therefore, are born as larvae to gradually transform, undergoing considerable changes in their physical development. Reptiles defend themselves using claws, tails and biting since many of them have important dentures. Some reptiles also have venom to neutralize their victims at mealtime.

Examples of reptiles vertebrate:

Komodo dragon, Black mamba, Saltwater crocodile, King cobra, Gila monster, Cottonmouth, etc. are some common and well-known examples of reptiles.

Characteristics of Reptiles

  • Live in warm habitats
  • Presence of nasal slits
  • Their body covered by scales.


They can live indifferently in water or land, something that reptiles cannot do. Although reptiles such as the crocodile, alligators, or snakes can spend a long time underwater, the reason is that the amphibians do not live under it. For this reason, the very name that amphibians receive comes from the Greek word “amphibious” that means “living in two elements.” Generally, amphibians are born in water, and with their maturation that they develop legs and lungs. There are approximately 5,600 species of amphibians. Amphibians have gills since part of their life is spent in water.

Examples of Amphibians

Frogs, toads, newts, or salamanders are some well-known examples of amphibians.

See Also: Difference between reptiles and aves

Characteristics of Amphibians

  • They cannot regulate body temperature.
  • The larval stage exists which runs after eggs
  • Amphibians have an important characteristic that they can live in both water or on land.
  • They can breathe through the lungs or gills.

Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians In Tabular Form



The group of cold-blooded vertebrates live on land and have epidermal scales, covering part or the entire surface of the body. A group of cold-blooded vertebrates which are capable of exploiting both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
They are creeping or crawling animals. THEY are animals with a dual-mode of existence.
Their skin is made up of dry scales arranged in a particular pattern. The actual skin is found underneath the dry scales, which are made of keratin. They have smooth, moist, highly porous, and sometimes sticky skin with numerous mucus glands.
They respire through pulmonary respiration, that cannot respire through the skin. The young or adult amphibians respire through their skin while some also have lungs.
The heart of reptiles is three chambered with two auricles and a falsely divided ventricle. Crocodiles are the only reptiles with a four-chambered heart. Their heart is three-chambered with two auricles and a ventricle.
6500 species of reptiles are identified. 5500 species of amphibians are identified.
Reptiles lay their eggs on land and are covered with a hard calcareous and leathery protective covering and their fertilization is internal. Amphibians lay their eggs in water that is covered with gel and their fertilization is external.

Key Differences B/w Reptiles And Amphibians

  • Reptiles especially live on land. On the other hand, amphibians spend part of their life in water and part on land
  • Reptiles can live in dry environments (on land).
  • Amphibians require to be close to moisture.
  • The skin of reptiles can be soft or hard.
  • The skin of amphibians is usually soft and moist; protected by a slippery mucus discharge.
  • Reptiles cannot undergo a major metamorphosis as they develop, while amphibians do.

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