Why Do Reptiles Have Scales.Docx

Topics: Reptile, Snake, Gecko Pages: 5 (1358 words) Published: March 10, 2012
Why do reptiles have scales?|

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 How many reptiles can you think of?  There are turtles, alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and lots of lizards! They all have a few things in common that make them different than other types of animals and one of those things is that they all have scales.   

Scales are hard and they are very strong.  They grow right out of reptiles’ skin and give them protection from other animals that might try to scratch or bite them. 

A lot of times in stories and movies you will see knights wearing shiny, metal suits of armor. The armor is a bunch of stiff plates that keep the knight safe.  It’s just like the knights are wearing scales! 

Scales can also help keep moisture in the bodies of reptiles, so they don’t get too dry. They need water just like people do. 

Reptiles aren’t the only kind of animals with scales though. Fish, and even some birds and insects, have scales too!  -------------------------------------------------
Reptile scale
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scutes on a Crocodile
Reptile skin is covered with scutes or scales which, along with other characteristics, distinguish reptiles from animals of other classes (except fish). Scales are made ofkeratin and are formed from the epidermis. They may be ossified or tubercular, as in the case of lizards, or modified elaborately, as in the case of snakes.[1] Contents  [hide]  * 1 Lizard scales * 2 Snake scales * 3 Scutes * 4 Ecdysis * 5 See also * 6 Cited references * 7 References| -------------------------------------------------

[edit]Lizard scales
Lizard scales vary in form from tubercular to platelike, or imbricate (overlapping). These scales, which on the surface are composed of horny (keratinized) epidermis may have bony plates underlying them; these plates are called osteoderms. Lizard scales may differ strongly in form on different parts of the lizard and are often of use in taxonomically differentiating species. -------------------------------------------------

[edit]Snake scales

A line diagram from G.A. Boulenger's Fauna of British India (1890) illustrating the terminology of shields on the head of a snake Main article: Snake scales
Snakes are entirely covered with scales or scutes of various shapes and sizes. Scales protect the body of the snake, aid it in locomotion, allow moisture to be retained within and give simple or complex colouration patterns which help in camouflage and anti-predator display. In some snakes, scales have been modified over time to serve other functions such as 'eyelash' fringes, and protective covers for the eyes with the most distinctive modification being the rattle of the North American rattlesnakes. Snakes periodically moult their scaly skins and acquire new ones. This permits replacement of old worn out skin, disposal of parasites and is thought to allow the snake to grow. The shape and arrangement of scales is used to identify snake species. The shape and number of scales on the head, back and belly are characteristic to family, genus and species. Scales have a nomenclature analogous to the position on the body. In "advanced" (Caenophidian) snakes, the broad belly scales and rows of dorsal scales correspond to the vertebrae, allowing scientists to count the vertebrae without dissection. -------------------------------------------------

Main article: Scutes
In crocodiles and turtles, the dermal armour is formed from the deeper dermisrather than the epidermis, and do not form the same sort of overlapping structure as snake scales. These dermal scales are more properly called scutes. Similar dermal scutes are found in the feet of birds and tails of some mammals, and are believed to be the primitive form of dermal armour in reptiles. -------------------------------------------------

Main article: Ecdysis

Cascavel (Crotalus durrisus), a rattlesnake, seen moulting. The shedding of scales is...
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