Reptiles and fish

Chapter 15 Reptiles and fish


The class Reptilia includes about 6500 species, all of which breed on land. The class is divided into four orders of which only two are significant as far as exotic pets are concerned. The four orders are:

These animals share many anatomical and physiological features so general reptilian anatomy and physiology will be discussed first, and any specific adaptations will be mentioned in the subsequent sections on lizards, snakes and the shelled reptiles.

General anatomy

Tortoises, terrapins and turtles

Tortoises, turtles and terrapins are members of the order Chelonia (N.B. in the USA all shelled reptiles are referred to as turtles). They are characterised by a hard outer shell consisting of a domed upper part called the carapace and a flatter ventral part called the plastron (Fig. 15.1). The shell forms a bony ‘box’ that protects the soft internal parts of the body. The shell is covered with horny plates or scutes, which are named according to the most adjacent part of the body. The scutes grow from the outside so that an annual ring develops along the periphery of each one, making the overall shell larger. In some species these ‘growth rings’ can be used to estimate age.

Anatomical features

Jul 18, 2016 | Posted by in PHARMACOLOGY, TOXICOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS | Comments Off on Reptiles and fish

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