Do you recall learning about amphibians and reptiles in your early science classes? These fascinating creatures are both classified as cold-blooded vertebrates, and they share several common characteristics. For instance, they typically lay eggs and undergo a process called molting, in which they shed their skin. But have you ever wondered what truly distinguishes these two animal classes from one another?

In this article, we will explore ten key differences between amphibians and reptiles while also addressing some frequently asked questions. By the time you finish reading, you will rediscover the excitement that captivated your younger self, and you’ll be ready to dazzle your friends with your newfound knowledge of these remarkable creatures. So, let’s dive into the captivating world of amphibians and reptiles!

Comparing Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians and reptiles are distinct groups of animals, with each demonstrating unique traits and characteristics. They both belong to different clades and classes: Amphibians to Batrachomorpha and Amphibia, while Reptiles to Sauropsida and Reptilia.

Habitat: Amphibians lead dual lives, occupying both water and land environments, while reptiles primarily reside on land but may occasionally venture into water.

Skin: Amphibian skin is permeable, often featuring warts, and produces mucus to stay moist. Reptiles have hard, watertight skin covered in scales or shells, without mucus production.

Nervous System: Reptiles have more developed brains, with larger cerebrum and cerebellum, and 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Amphibians possess a less-developed brain with 10 pairs of cranial nerves.

Respiration: Most amphibians can exchange gases through their skin in air or water, while reptiles rely mainly on pulmonary respiration.

Excretions: Nitrogenous waste in amphibians is expelled as ammonia, while reptiles excrete waste as uric acid.

Tongue: Amphibians have whole, generally sticky tongues. In contrast, reptile tongues are bifurcated and serve as sensory organs.

Eyes: Amphibian eyes have limited color vision and are adapted for aquatic and terrestrial habitats; reptiles have more advanced eyes capable of perceiving a wider range of colors.

Eggs: Amphibians lay gelatinous, mucus-covered eggs in water and can be fertilized externally or internally. Reptiles lay amniotic eggs encased in leathery or calcareous shells on land, which are fertilized internally.

Larva: The life cycle of amphibians typically begins with an aquatic larval form and undergoes metamorphosis to reach adulthood. Reptiles do not have an aquatic larval stage nor transition to reach their adult stage.

The 10 Key Differences Between Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians and Reptiles: Classification

Although amphibians and reptiles share similarities, they belong to different classes in the animal kingdom. Amphibians, which include frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians, belong to the class Amphibia. In contrast, reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodiles, fall under the class Reptilia. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Environment

Amphibians generally have an aquatic stage in their life cycle and spend a significant amount of time in or near water. Reptiles primarily live on land, with few spending their lives in or near water like amphibians do. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Skin Characteristics

Amphibians have permeable skin, allowing them to breathe both in air and water, while reptiles possess a hard, watertight epidermis. This includes scales in some reptiles, such as turtles and snakes. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Neural System

Amphibians typically have less developed brains and nervous systems compared to reptiles, with smaller cerebrum and cerebellum sizes and only 10 pairs of cranial nerves. Reptiles, on the other hand, possess 12 cranial nerves and more complex brains. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Breathing Mechanism

The lungs of amphibians are more primitive and exchange gas through their skin, while reptiles only breathe using their lungs, with some limited gas exchange occurring in a few species like turtles. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Secretion Composition

Amphibians excrete ammonia as their primary waste byproduct, while reptiles excrete uric acid, as they need to conserve water for living on land. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Tongue Shape

Most amphibians have a whole, sticky tongue for catching prey, while many reptiles, like snakes and lizards, possess a bifurcated or split tongue that serves as a sensory organ. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Eyesight

Amphibians can see a limited range of colors equally well above and below water, while reptiles have more developed eyesight for a broader range of colors but function less efficiently underwater. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Eggs

Amphibians lay gelatinous, permeable eggs that require external fertilization, while reptiles lay amniotic eggs with a leathery or calcareous shell that necessitates internal fertilization. Learn more

Amphibians and Reptiles: Development Stages

Amphibians undergo an aquatic larval stage and metamorphosis, changing their appearance from larval to adult form. Reptiles, in contrast, do not have a larval stage or undergo metamorphosis; they hatch or give birth to fully formed juveniles. Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions about Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, have a history dating back around 363 million years, while reptiles, like snakes and turtles, are approximately 315 million years old.

There are more than 10,700 reptile species and around 6,000 amphibian species in the world.


  • Amphibians: lay gelatinous eggs in water
  • Reptiles: lay leathery eggs on land

We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any feedback, feel free to contact us.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *