Are Crocodiles Reptiles? Why Crocs Are Reptiles and Not Amphibians

Are crocodiles reptiles?

Crocodiles are reptiles that love the water. Because they love the water people often mistake them for amphibians. In the case of crocodiles, some people think that crocodiles are technically fish or amphibians because their skin is covered with scales called “scutes” that don’t resemble other reptiles.

Crocodiles are reptiles just like all other crocodilians. They have scales, but theirs are different from any other reptile scales. What’s more, they’re cold-blooded animals. Thus crocodiles belong to the reptile family along with lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises.  

If you’re confused about how to classify crocodiles, you’re not alone. It’s interesting to note that the original definition of “reptile” was any cold-blooded animal with dry, scaly skin. Therefore, it’s not surprising that most people have a hard time classifying crocodiles.

 Fortunately, we’ve provided a comprehensive list of crocodile facts that will give you all the information you need to learn about the most dangerous reptiles in the world. So, let’s jump right in. Shall we?

Crocodiles Are Reptiles: But What Makes Them Reptiles? 

Crocodiles are reptiles belonging to the order Crocodylia. The classification of these animals as reptiles has been a longstanding tradition in zoology. In fact, there’s no evidence suggesting gators have evolved into any other forms or shapes since their appearance on Earth over 200 million years ago.

So, what makes the crocodile a reptile?  

Crocodiles Like All Reptiles are Cold-Blooded

One of the most important criteria in the biological classification of an animal is its ability to regulate its own body temperature. This is known as homeostasis, and it’s achieved through a process called thermoregulation.

Crocodiles are cold-blooded organisms that cannot control their internal temperatures like mammals do. For this reason, crocodiles depend on external sources to regulate their body temperatures.

The fact that crocodiles are cold-blooded isn’t proof enough of the reptilian nature of these beasts, however. You see, there are also plenty of cold-blooded amphibians. Therefore, you need to consider other factors to answer the question of whether or not crocodiles are reptiles.

Crocodiles Have Scales But They Look Different Than Other Reptiles

Another reason why crocodiles are classified as reptiles is that they possess scales. More specifically, these animals can stay submerged for long periods without having to come up for air or prying themselves from the aquatic environment in which they thrive.

However, crocodile scales don’t resemble what you’d find on other reptiles. These scales, also known as “scutes,” are thicker, harder and more closely resemble armor. They protect against water loss.

Crocodiles Lay Eggs Like Other Reptiles

Another reason you can use to prove that crocodiles are reptiles is that they lay eggs like other cold-blooded animals (including turtles).

In addition, the fertilization of eggs happens inside the crocodile’s body, like most other creatures. There are only a small number of reptiles that don’t lay eggs. 

Crocodiles Like All Reptiles are Vertebrates

Crocodiles are also considered reptiles because they are vertebrates, meaning that their spines have the same type of internal skeletal support found in mammals. Specifically, crocodile skeletons contain a structure known as a “notochord.” This is similar to what you’d find in bony fish and sharks.

Like All Reptiles Crocodiles Breath Through Their Lungs

Like all reptiles, crocodiles breathe air through their lungs. They can also breathe through their skin if necessary, but this is only when they are underwater or in mud for a long time!

Why A Crocodile Is Not An Amphibian

Many people confuse reptiles and amphibians because they are both cold-blooded (in other words, ectothermic), but there are several differences between the two. These include:

Reptile Vs Amphibian Definition

Reptiles are a group of cold-blooded, four-legged vertebrates that have scales or shells covering their bodies. They hatch from eggs and breathe air through the lungs. This includes lizards, crocodilians, turtles, tortoises, snakes, and tuataras!

On the other hand, amphibians are also cold-blooded, four-legged vertebrates that hatch from eggs and breathe air through their lungs. However, they’re capable of exploring both aquatic and terrestrial environments. This includes frogs, toads and salamanders!

Distinct Feature

Reptiles are typically crawling or creeping animals. On the other hand, amphibians have a dual mode of existence. This means that they exist both in water and on land. For example, a frog can live its life out in the pond, but it can also explore the forest floor when necessary!

Crocodiles are often mistaken for amphibians because they spend so much of their life in the water. But due to the other distici

Reptile vs Amphibian Skin 

Amphibians’ skin has glands that produce toxic secretions that offer protection against its predators. On the other hand, reptiles don’t have these glands. Reptiles only have scales formed from keratin, the same substance found in our hair and nails!


The majority of amphibians respire through the skin, but some have lungs. In the case of tadpoles, they have gills that they lose when they turn into adult frogs. However, crocodiles breathe through the lungs.


Amphibians have short forelimbs and longer hind limbs with five webbed digits. On the other hand, reptiles like crocodiles have four limbs that are roughly the same size. 


Amphibians mostly have a narrow color range. As a result, they’re unable to distinguish between numerous colors. On the other hand, reptiles have a wide color range which allows them to see and distinguish between various colors.


Amphibians have a three-chambered heart with two auricles and one ventricle. On the other hand, the reptilian heart is also three-chambered with two ventricles and a wrongly divided ventricle. The crocodile is the only reptile that has a four-chambered heart.

Cranial Nerves

Cranial nerves are the nerves that emerge directly from the brain. Their main function is to support the five senses. Amphibians have ten pairs of cranial nerves. In contrast, reptiles such as the crocodile have 12 pairs.


Fertilization in amphibians is external, while it is internal in reptiles. This means that the male of the amphibian species deposits their sperm externally on the egg mass. On the other hand, with crocodiles, it is done internally by copulation, with males depositing their sperm directly into the female reproductive tract. 

Source:  Microbe Notes

Are All Crocodilians Reptiles?

Crocodilian is a family of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials. All the animals in this family are reptiles. They are cold-blooded animals that have scales, breathe through lungs and lay eggs.

What’s more, these animals have large, powerful jaws, elongated tails, thick plated skin, and short legs. They also tend to remain underwater most of the time and can open their mouth while in the water but can’t swallow inside the water. Doing so may increase their risk of drowning.

What Do All Crocodilians Have in Common?

All the animals in this family are reptiles, and they tend to share certain characteristics. Here’s are some of the things crocodilians have in common:

Similar External Appearance

These animals have large, powerful jaws, elongated tails, thick plated skin, and short legs. This is a characteristic you’ll notice when you look at the crocodile, alligator, and caiman.

Presence of Scales

The scales on the skin of a crocodilian are called scutes, and they give them protection from external damage such as bites, scratches, abrasions or other injuries that these animals could suffer when fighting with prey. They also may help prevent infection by providing an extra layer of defense against outside threats like bacteria and parasites.

Crocodilians Spend Most of Their Time Underwater

Crocodilians also tend to remain underwater most of the time and can open their mouth while in the water. However, they are unable to swallow their food inside the water. Doing so can increase their risk of drowning as they may take in too much water, thereby suffocating them.

Crocodilians Are Cold-Blooded Reptiles 

Crocodilians are among those reptiles referred to as “cold-blooded” because they depend on sunlight and heat from their environment to maintain their temperature. This means that crocodiles need both land and water areas since each provides them with the heat they need. 


All crocodilians are equipped with four legs for locomotion. However, they can also use their tails to move in the water just like fish do. During locomotion, the tail works as a propeller, allowing the crocodile to swim. They hold their limbs close to the body while swimming to minimize drag.

Crocodilians only use their legs in the water when they need to change direction, slow down, steer, or stop.


Another similarity all crocodilians have is that they have a four-chambered heart. This means that they have the same ability to pump blood throughout their entire body as mammals do.


For a long time, crocodilians were believed to breathe the same way as humans. However, recent studies have shown that they breathe more like birds, with air flowing in a unidirectional loop within the lungs.


Crocodilians are amphibious reptiles. This means that they lay eggs on land but spend most of their time in the water. Crocodiles prefer warm climates and are found throughout the world’s tropical regions, generally in swamps with high humidity levels.

The alligator is more adaptable, and you can find them in a wider variety of habitats, including swamps and marshes as well as freshwater lakes and rivers.

Caimans tend to be a bit more selective with their habitats, preferring the deep pools in rivers during the dry season. However, despite their preferences, all crocodilians prefer to live in wet environments.

Other Interesting Facts About These Amazing Reptiles 

You probably know a lot about crocodiles, but did you know that they are considered the closest living relatives of dinosaurs? Crocodiles have evolved very little since then. Here are some interesting facts you didn’t know about crocodiles:

Crocodiles Were Once At the Top of the Food Chain

Although they’ve long been replaced by humans, crocodiles were once at the top of the food chain. However, this was over 100 million years ago. Today, crocodiles are still vicious predators, but humans have taken their place as the top predator.

Crocodiles Have One of the Strongest Bites in the Animal Kingdom

Crocodiles have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom, allowing them to tear through flesh and bone easily. For instance, the saltwater crocodile has three times the biting force of a tiger or lion.  They use this incredible strength when hunting for prey or self-defense purposes.

However, despite their strong biting force, they have extremely weak jaw muscles. You can easily shut a crocodile’s jaw with a rubber band or your hands.

Crocodiles Are Reptiles That Love The Water 

If you were wondering whether crocodiles are reptiles, now you know. Crocodiles are reptiles, but they have some characteristics that resemble amphibians. However, they’re a unique set of reptiles seeing that their scales are different, and they have a few other characteristics that are different from the others.

However, one thing is sure; crocodiles have some interesting features! These creatures are extremely old, and they’ve survived many different climates, which just goes to show how resilient they are. Therefore, whether you’re doing it for fun or studying these creatures for educational purposes, they’re worth learning more about!


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