Some aquatic creatures evolved and developed lungs and limbs that let them stay in the water but partly also move on to live on the surface of land close to the water. This evolutionary process eventually let these animals live both on water and land. They live a double life and are called amphibians. Amphibians have moist skin, and their skin absorbs oxygen and water. These creatures are also vulnerable to getting dehydrated.
What is an amphibian?
Amphibians live both on land and in water; most of the amphibians do not have any scales on their body. They lay eggs, and the egg gets fertilized outside of their body. When they are born, amphibians have gills that let them breathe. Some amphibians will lose their gills when they grow old and then start to breathe with their lungs. Amphibians, in turn, have a smooth and scale-less covering that permeates water.
What are reptiles?
Reptiles are vertebrae that breathe air and have a special skin covered with bony plates, scales, or a combination of both of them. Reptiles also are cold-blooded as they have a slow metabolism rate and possess the behavior of heat-seeking. They thus adapt to the temperature that they live in. A reptile is a terrestrial vertebrate and has a hard and scaly shell. Turtles have a hard shell, and this cannot be permeated. Turtles also are similar to reptiles because they are capable of molting their skin. It is not done at once like in a snake’s case, but they molt their skin in bits.
How turtles are similar to amphibians
- Turtles can live their lives partly on the water surface, partly under the water, and partially on the land.
- They are vulnerable to getting dehydrated
- Most of the turtles have a moist skin
- Turtles are considered to be cold-blooded because they are not capable of controlling their body temperature
- Amphibians do not have a constant body temperature. They take in the temperature of the environment that they are staying in. The same is true about turtles too.
How turtles are dissimilar to amphibians
These are the features that make turtles different from amphibians.
- Turtles do have scales.
- They do not possess gills, and their eggs get fertilized in their body when they breed. Breeding is when the male turtle penetrates the female turtle and fertilizes her egg. Turtles will lay many eggs in the nests that they build on the shore. When the hatchlings are born, they breathe through their lungs.
- Turtles are not vertebrates. The turtle’s spine may not be visible fully, but this is again something that makes it different from amphibians.
- In turtles, eggs are hard-shelled, and thus they cannot lay in the water like an amphibian.
- Turtles live in and around the water bodies, and these are not classified as amphibians but as reptiles
- All these point to the fact that turtles are not amphibians, but they are reptiles.
Turtles are reptiles
Evidence that proves turtles do possess some resemblance with amphibians, but they are all classified in the reptiles category.
- The scales of the turtle cover part of their skin even though the scales are not as distinct as in lizards and snakes
- Turtles use their lungs for breathing. Most of the turtles, like the sea turtles, can dive in, but they need to resurface to live
- Turtles are not capable of regulating their body temperature, and they are thus cold-blooded
- Turtles are similar to snakes and lay eggs
- The turtle has to come out from the water and dig a burrow or a nest to lay eggs. This is something that makes them a reptile
Turtles belong to the reptilian class or the Phylum Chordata class. The four-legged vertebrae have a cold-blooded metabolism and have scales that cover their entire body. They breathe through their lungs. They belong to the cold-blooded animals’ category – reptiles. The reptile can either live in the sea or the freshwater.
Turtles lay eggs, which show that they are a reptile.
Like reptiles, turtles lay their eggs and the eggs are leathery and soft. The large species of turtles lay spherical eggs. The rest of them lay eggs that are elongated in shape. The temperature will determine whether the egg will develop into a female or a male. If the temperature is high, then the egg will mature into a female. If the temperature is low, then the egg matures into a male.
The turtle will dig a hole in the mud and then deposit several eggs into it. The sea turtle will lay its egg on the sandy and dry beach. These eggs incubate by themselves. When the turtle hatches, they slowly squirm their way into the surface with their head towards the water. In no known species of a turtle, the mothers take care of the young ones. It can take a turtle many years to reach its breeding stage, and they also breed every few years instead of annually.
Anatomy and the morphology of turtles that make them reptiles
The anatomy and the morphology of the turtle species will depend on whether they spend their maximum time on land or water. These also have shells that protect them from their predators. The outer shell part is covered with scales that are hard and horny.
The shell is mostly shaped like a dome. Turtles are capable of retracting their head into their shell. This is a function that adapts the turtle to feed and protect itself. In total, the turtles have a lot in common with both the reptile and the amphibian. However, if looked closely, they resemble the reptile class more than the amphibians; thus, turtles are not amphibians but reptiles.
Some think that turtles could be classified as an amphibian. Turtles have a lot of common traits with both an amphibian and a reptile. A sea turtle can live inside water just like a salamander or a frog. Turtles have four legs and a tail. At some of their life stages, they need water to live. Turtles belong to a category where they partially stay on land.
Yes, the amphibians and reptiles are indeed both cold-blooded. It is also true like the amphibians, the turtle is capable of living on land and water. However, some significant differences between the amphibians and reptiles make it clear that turtles are reptiles and not amphibians.