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Welcome to Reptiles; all you need to know!

Reptiles are air-breathing vertebrates covered in particular skin made up of scales, bony plates, or a combination of both.

They include crocodiles, snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises. All regularly shed the outer layer of their skin, and their metabolism depends on the temperature of their environment. Reptiles are among the longest-lived species on the planet. Snakes first appeared in the fossil record 315 million years ago.

endangered reptiles

Have a look at our Most Famous Reptile Articles:

Top 5 Reptile Fun Facts

    • It’s estimated that there are more than 10,000 species of reptiles around the globe, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

    • Reptiles do not have sweat glands and, thus, are not slimy. Instead, their skin is usually calm and dry.

    • Most species of snake lay eggs (oviparous). But many Vipers, Rattlesnakes, and Anacondas give birth to live young (viviparous).

    • The hearts of snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises contain three chambers rather than the four-chambered hearts of humans.

    • Many species of Turtle show temperature-depend sex determination. This means the ambient temperature outside the egg, during the embryo’s development, can determine a hatchling’s gender.

Have a look at some of the reptiles around the globe that we have covered and where to encounter them.


Turtle looking to the camera, followed by some silverfish

They are characterized by a unique bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs acting as shields. Colloquially, the word “turtle” is generally restricted to freshwater and sea-dwelling Testudines (turtles, tortoises, and terrapins).

Get to Know Sea Turtles

There are seven species of sea turtles -six of which are found swimming in every ocean except for the Arctic and Antarctica. The seventh sea turtle species, the flatback, lives only in the waters around Australia.

Sea turtles grow 2 – 7 feet long and weigh 70 – 1500 pounds. Given that there are seven species of sea turtles, the leatherback is the most giant sea turtle and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. In addition, sea turtles are omnivores.

It should be known that sea turtles make long migrations between feeding and breeding zones.

For instance: the leatherback turtle travels around 3,500 miles each way between feeding and breeding. Regarding gestation, sea turtles will mate at sea, and then on the beaches; they lay their eggs. After digging a hole in the sand to deposit their eggs, they cover the hole back up and return to the waters.

Around 60 days later, the eggs hatch and tiny turtles make their way to the water – often at night time to avoid any potential threats to the young turtles.

Diet of Sea Turtles

reptiles: sea turtles

Sea turtles, in general, are omnivores. However, their specific diet depends on which sub species they are. For instance: Leatherback turtles feed on jellyfish, while Loggerheads feed mainly on lobsters and fish.

Green turtles are vegetarian, so they eat seagrasses. Olive Ridley sea turtles mostly eat jellyfish, snails, and shrimp – though they may also feed on seaweed.

Endangerment of Sea Turtles

Plastic pollution in ocean environmental problem. Turtles can eat plastic bags and bottles, mistaking them for jellyfish.

There are several factors which are leading to the endangerment of sea turtle. We must highlight these reasons as we become more aware of the dangers and ways we can help them.

    • Entanglement in Fishing Gear

    • Consumption of Turtle eggs and meat

    • Global Warming

Over the last 200 years, human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation because they are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin, and shells. In fishing gear, they also face habitat destruction and accidental capture—known as bycatch.

Climate change impacts turtle nesting sites; it alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. Nearly all sea turtle species are now classified as endangered, with three of the seven existing species being critically endangered.

Where to swim with turtles

sea turtle reptiles

Multiple tour operators are offering sea turtle encounters.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    1. ABC Scuba Diving 

    1. Blue Dive Port Douglas

    1. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions 

    1. Scuba IQ 

2. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    1. Guiding Galapagos Expeditions 

    1. Scuba Iguana 

    1. Perfect Destiny 

    1. Eagleray Tours

    1. Galapagos Underwater 

3. Maui Island, Hawaii

    1. Maui Snorkel Tours

    1. Molokini Snorkelling Tours 

    1. PacWhale Eco-Adventures

    1. Maui Snorkel Charters 

    1. Quicksilver Maui 

4. Sipadan, Malaysia

    1. Scuba Junkie 

    1. Pulau Mabul 

    1. Sipadan Water Village 

    1. Borneo Divers Mabul Resort 

    1. Pom Pom Island Resort 

5. Ari Atoll, Maldives

    1. Let’s go to Excursions Maldives 

    1. Miyaru Folhudhoo Divers Maldives

    1. Rasdhoo Scuba Divers 

    1. Dive Worldwide

    1. Dive Blue Maldives 

Has this inspired you to see turtles in this wild? Please take a look at our all-inclusive guide; Where to swim with turtles.


There are 13 species, so there are many different sizes of crocodiles. The smallest crocodile is the dwarf crocodile, which grows to about 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) in length and weighs 13 to 15 pounds (6 to 7 kilograms). The enormous crocodile is the saltwater crocodile.

Saltwater Crocodile

have an enormous range, populating the brackish and freshwater regions of eastern India, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. They are excellent swimmers and have often been spotted far out at sea.

American Crocodile

It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas, with populations from South Florida and the coasts of Mexico to as far south as Peru and Venezuela.

Marsh/ Mugger Crocodile

The mugger crocodile, also called marsh crocodile, broad-snouted crocodile, and mugger is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran to the Indian subcontinent—vulnerable status.

Nile Crocodile

The Nile crocodile, native to freshwater habitats in Africa, is present in 26 countries due to its widespread occurrence and stable population trend.

Dwarf Crocodile

The dwarf crocodile, also known as the African dwarf crocodile, broad-snouted crocodile, or bony crocodile, is an African crocodile that is also the smallest extant species of crocodile.

Fresh Water Crocodile

The freshwater crocodile, also known as the Australian freshwater crocodile, Johnstone’s crocodile, or colloquially as a freshie, is endemic to the northern regions of Australia.

Cuban Crocodile

The Cuban crocodile is a small-medium species of crocodile found only in Cuba. Highly aggressive. The Cuban crocodile is one of the world’s most endangered crocodile species.

West African Slender Snouted Crocodile


The West African slender-snouted crocodile is a critically endangered species of African crocodile, and it is one of five species of crocodile in Africa.

Distribution & Habitat

Crocodiles are giant reptiles around the globe that habitat the tropics of the Americas, Australia, Africa, and Asia. Europe is the only continent that they don’t natively live in.

Crocodiles are inhabitants of swamps, lakes, and rivers, although some species make their way to salty water or the sea.

Where to see Crocodiles

A crocodile is resting on a sand bank. Taken in Kruger National Park, South Africa

1. USA

Over 200,000 alligators and crocodiles are in the Everglades—but over 1.5 million are in Florida! The coastal plains of the southeastern United States are home to most gators, who live in natural and artificial freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and wetland areas.

Everglades National Park, Florida

Tour Operators:

Everglades Nature Tours

Everglades swamp tours

2. South Africa

Only the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) occurs naturally in South Africa, and they are formidable predators.

    • Kruger National park, Mpumalanga

    • St Lucia reserve, KZN

    • Ndumo Game Reserve

    • Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Tour Operator:

Crocodile Kruger activities

Sentashya Safari

St Lucia Safaris and Tours

Siyabona Africa

Heritage tours and safaris

3. Australia

Australia is home to only two crocodile species but can boast of having the largest, the Saltwater Crocodile. Although ‘salties‘ can live in the sea, they prefer estuaries and freshwater swamps across northern Australia and often venture inland during the breeding season.

    • Kakadu National park

    • Adelaide River, Northern Territory

Tour Operators:

Kakadu Tours

Adelaide River Tours

Jumping Crocodile Cruise

4. Cuba

Endemic to Cuba, the Cuban crocodile is the most terrestrial of all crocodile species, with long and strong legs that distinguish it from its relatives. They were once found across the Caribbean and the Bahamas, but hunting reduced the population to a small region of Cuba.

5. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has two species of crocodiles: the Mugger or Marsh crocodile and the Saltwater or Estuarine crocodile. Sri Lanka is home to around 2,500 to 3,500 saltwater crocodiles, more than half of which are found in national parks.

    • Wilpattu,

    • Yala,

    • Bundala National Parks.

Tour Operator: Wildlife Tours Sri Lanka

Are you a lover of crocs? Would you want to encounter them in real life? Please take a look at our crocodile blog!

Caiman (Animals of the Amazon)

The infamous Black Caiman is the largest predator in the Amazon basin, known for their black, scaly skin. They are usually found in the slow-moving rivers and lakes in the Amazon region, as well as in the floodplains of the Amazon Rainforest. Reptiles around the globe are closely related to the alligator.

There are plenty of black caimans in the Amazon region, and so they are considered at a “low risk” of extinction, with an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 black caimans in the wild.

Like all other members of the order Crocodylia (or Crocodilia), Caimans are amphibious carnivores. They live along the edges of rivers and other bodies of water, and they reproduce using hard-shelled eggs laid in nests built and guarded by the female.

Where can you go to spot a Black Caiman in the wild?

Rainforest cruises are one of the best operators to contact to ensure you see a black caiman up close and personal!

Are you interested in animals on the amazon? We have the blog for you!


American Alligator Swimming in Everglades

Alligators have lived on Earth for millions of years and are sometimes described as ‘living fossils.’

Two types of alligators are in existence, and they are the American and Chinese Alligators.

American Alligators

The American alligator, sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator or common alligator, is a giant crocodilian/ large reptile around the globe, native to the Southeastern United States, with a small population in Mexico.

Chinese Alligators

The Chinese alligator, also known as the Yangtze alligator, China alligator, or historically the muddy dragon, is a crocodilian endemic to China.

Distribution & Habitat

America and China. According to the Smithsonian Zoo, the American alligator lives in the southern United States, from North Carolina to Texas.

These Gators are in slow-moving rivers, ponds, lakes, and swamps. Chinese alligators live in eastern China and are confined to a small area in the Yangtze River basin near the Pacific Ocean. They are traditionally found in rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps but are now mainly confined to ditches and ponds on agricultural land.

Where to see Alligators in America

    • New Orleans, Louisiana.

    • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

    • The Everglades, Florida.

    • Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, Alabama.

    • Houston, Texas.

Airboats tours

Tigertail Airboat tours

Where to see alligators in China

Today it is limited to the lower Yangtze river, the largest river in Asia, primarily in the Anhui and Zhejiang provinces in eastern China. Chinese alligators are found in slow-moving freshwater rivers and streams, including lakes, ponds, and swamps.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to book tours to see these alligators. One can visit alligators in parks across various parts of the country. However, we cannot attest to the state of care for alligators. Let us know if you have visited any of these parks and whether or not you can recommend them for alligator encounters…

Alligator obsessed? Want to learn more about these incredible reptiles around the globe? Please have a look at our alligator guide.

Nonvenomous snakes: Boa Constrictor

boa snake reptiles

Boas are found in Mexico, Central and South America, and Madagascar. The group’s most prominent member group is the boa constrictor, but it is important to note that this is onboard species of boa—all boas are constrictors. A constrictor is a snake that kills prey by constriction.

Types of Boa Constrictors

Boas are collectively referred to as bones in South America and are, without a doubt, the most famous snakes in the world.

The widespread boine fauna of the Amazon River Basin and the Guianas includes five species, namely the boa constrictor, the emerald tree boa (Corallus canines), the typical tree boa (C. enydris), the rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria) and the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus).

Where to find Boa Constrictors

Although highly elusive reptiles around the globe to spot in the wild, we have recommended locations that are home to these remarkable reptiles!

The Amazon Rainforest

All four species of Anaconda can be found throughout South America, but they dwell predominately in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins.  Anacondas are semi-aquatic and thrive in slow-moving streams, rivers, and other muddy, marshy environments.

These “Water Boas,” as Anacondas are sometimes called, tend to be slow and unwieldy while on land and instead use their sleek bodies to swim swiftly through the water. Anacondas are primarily nocturnal snakes, though they can be seen active throughout the day.

Suggested Tours & Operators

Rainforest cruises, Amazon River cruises

Amazon Expeditioners Amazon walk expeditions


Cozumel is a largely undeveloped Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea. It is a popular cruise ship port of call famed for its scuba diving—a venue for natural wonders of the land and sea alike.

Suggested tours/ Operators:

Safe Tours Cozumel: Private Island tour into national parks and heritage sites

Cozumel Tours: Ecotours

In the mood for snake searching? Learn more about Boa constrictor snakes here.

Sea Snakes

Two black and white banded sea kraits dancing in the blue

In the ocean, Sea snakes are no more than 60 species of highly venomous marine snakes of the cobra family (Elapidae). Two independently evolved groups are the actual sea snakes related to Australian terrestrial elapids and the sea kraits associated with the Asian cobras.


They are restricted to coastal areas of the Indian and Western Pacific oceans, from the east coast of Africa to the Gulf of Panama, except for the yellow-bellied sea snake found in the open ocean from Africa eastward across the coast of Pacific to the west coast of the Americas.

Fun Facts about reptiles around the globe: sea snake edition…

    1. The average Sea snake grows to about 2 meters long and has a smallish head for its body size.

2. Their tails are flattened to make fast swimming possible, and flaps over their nostrils close when they are underwater.

3. they are capable of bursts of speed of up to 1m/sec when diving, fleeing and feeding.


Sea Snakes

Sea snakes are exploited for their skin, organs, and meat. Although some species are taken in great numbers, they are not protected by CITES (A Washingon convention).

Since 1934, the meat and skin of sea snakes have been used commercially in the Philippines, and local protection of sea snakes has become necessary to avoid overexploitation.

Are you swimming with sea snakes?

Finding snakes underwater can be a hazardous and harmful experience. Despite their inoffensive nature, they are highly venomous. The site may initially seem insignificant, but the paralysis that results can be fatal.

Keep sea snakes at a distance and never attempt to handle one. Tread carefully in areas where they are known to be found.

If you want to learn more about the snakes of the sea, you’ll love our sea snake complete guide.

Summary of All about Reptiles

Reptiles around the globe are incredible adapters, having originated over 300 million years ago into the species we can encounter today.

Have you ever been privileged to meet one of these reptiles around the globe in the wild? ( with a safe following distance, of course).

Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for future reptile features to come. Also have a look at Where to see Crocodiles in the wild or Alligator Poop: Role in the Ecosystem.

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