Are you aware of reptiles?
Well, of course you are.
But how much do you really know about them? If the answer is “not much” or even “less than I’d like to”, then today is for you.
It’s Reptile Awareness Day!
We haven’t been able to discover who started this day or when. But it was probably someone who loved reptiles. Possibly even someone who recognized many reptiles are in danger of extinction. And because they’re not very cuddly—nor very cute in many cases—they don’t always get a lot of attention.
But reptiles are quite fascinating. They deserve attention. And awareness of the dangers they face.
And awareness has been growing. Part of that may be because of sea turtles. Lots of people like sea turtles … possibly because they’re kinda cute.
And there’s a lot of campaigns to help save sea turtle populations.
And recently we got the good news that all these efforts seem to be working. Sea turtles aren’t out of the woods yet, but populations have been increasing in many areas.
But today is about all reptiles. From the cute ones to the scary ones.
The definition of reptile is an amniote, other than a mammal or bird, that is cold blooded, has scutes or scales, and lays its eggs on land.
What the heck does that mean?! Well:
There are four orders of reptile (an “order” is one of the categories scientists use to organize biological life—it’s right below “class,” which in this case is Reptilia):
Were you expecting frogs to be in this list somewhere? 🐸 They’re not because they’re amphibians (class: Amphibia), not reptiles. But it’s easy to be confused, because reptiles and amphibians have historically been lumped together in the study of herpetology!
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Here are a few other fun facts:
Many reptiles live a long time. Sometimes longer than humans.
Sadly, their long lives don’t help them escape the threat of extinction. In fact, it may be hurting them, because the longer lived animals don’t start reproducing for 5, 10, or even 20 years. They face many threats in the meantime.
Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this unofficial, scaly, slithery holiday.GoogleAd-NSC-Middle (text-2)
If you have a pet reptile, spoil it today! Well, as much as you can spoil a reptile, anyway. Depending on the kind you have, a favorite treat or a new perch for its habitat would probably do nicely.
Don’t have a reptile but have been wanting one? Adopt one! But only if you’ve already been learning about what your preferred reptile needs to be healthy & happy. If you don’t know that yet, then start by reading up.
And make sure the reptile you want is legal where you live. Many communities regulate the kinds of exotic pets you can own.
Go to your local zoo’s reptile exhibit. It’s a great place to learn about many different reptiles.
Want to help reptile conservation efforts? Consider donating to a reptile-focused organization. Here are a few options (remember to always check them out for yourself before donating):
Are your kids reptile fans? Get them books about reptiles!
For the youngest, a picture book like one of these:
For grade schoolers:
And for yourself or older children:
How will you be celebrating Reptile Awareness Day this year?