Travel photos


Reptile Photos

Below are selected pictures of reptiles. More photographs of reptiles are available in the country sections found on the left and on the following pages: Madagascar lizards, Madagascar reptiles, Peru reptiles, Reptiles in Indonesia, Malaysian reptiles, ALL* reptiles photos.


Except where noted, all images are the property of Rhett A. Butler, copyright 1994-2004. Contact me with questions regarding use, reproduction, or purchase of any of the pictures.


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Green sea turtle | Furcifer pardalis chameleon | Panther Chameleon in Perinet | Orange panther chameleon | Brookesia peyrierasi chameleon on twig | Brookesia peyrierasi chameleon on leaf | Brookesia superciliaris playing dead | Brookesia superciliaris chameleon in leaf litter | Brookesia superciliaris chameleon, Masoala NP | Peyrieras' Pygmy Chameleon (Brookesia peyrierasi) | Brookesia peyrierasi chameleon in hand | Brookesia thieli chameleon | Parson's chameleon in highland forest of Madagascar | Calumma parsoni chameleon | Calumma parsonii chameleon | Calumma Parsoniia | Calumma Parsoniia | Calumma Parsonii | Calumma brevicornis (male) | Calumma globifer chameleon | Furcifer gastrotaenia chameleon | Furcifer lateralis (juvenile) | Furcifer willsii (Female) | Furcifer willsii (Female) | Furcifer willsii (Male) | Furcifer lateralis chameleon ready to eat insect | Phelsuma gecko near Maroantsetra | Phelsuma madagascariensis kochi

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Paroedura bastardi gecko | Phelsuma gecko in Ft. Dauphin | Phelsuma gecko in Taolagnaro | Phelsuma Gecko in leaf | Phelsuma Day Gecko on bamboo | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko | Uroplatus fimbriatus - dialated pupil | Uroplatus fimbriatus on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus with flying insect | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus - head shot tree trunk | Uroplatus fimbriatus - side angle head shot | Uroplatus fimbriatus - tree trunk, full body | Uroplatus phantasticus gecko | Uroplatus phantasticus | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko | Mangrove monitor (Varanus indicus) | Green iguana (Iguana iguana) | Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis) | Komodo Dragon - Varanus komodoensis | Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) | Varanus komodoensis | Rhinoceros Iguana (Cyclura cornuta cornuta) | Juvenile Nile crocodile captured for a population survey | African slender-snouted crocodile, Cocodrilo hociquifino africano | Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) emerging from a tree hollow | Close up of Mountain Horned Dragon lizard (Acanthosaurus armata) found in the wild

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Green-eyed gecko (Gecko stentor) | Gmelin's Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) eating a frog | Common Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis pictus) snake swallowing a frog | Cave rat snake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) grabbing a bat in flight and eating it | Cave Dwelling Ratsnake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) grabbing a bat in flight and eating it | Cave Dwelling Rat snake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) eating a bat as another one flies by | Cave Dwelling snake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) eating a bat as another one flies by | Cave Ratsnake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) swallowing a bat | Close up on the lizard with blue eyes found in the Malaysian rainforest | Close up headshot of the blue-eyed forest dragon of the Malaysian jungle | Bronzeback snake in a tree | Green vine snake in Malaysia | Caiman, Brazil | Caiman, Brazil | Caiman, Brazil | Lizard, Costa Rica | Boa, Costa Rica | Male Iguana, Costa Rica | Rainbow Ameivas, Honduras | Anole lizard showing its bright orange dewlap in a territorial display | Unknown bright green lizard in the Peruvian Amazon | Ancient Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) | Green bush viper (Atheris species) | Blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Headshot of the colorful blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Juvenile Elliott's Chameleon | Female Blue-headed Tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Baby sea turtle | Brookesia minima chameleon size comparison | Brookesia minima on pack of gum

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Baby oustaleti chameleon on hand | Baby Furcifer oustaleti | Brookesia superciliaris sleeping on leaf | Calumma brevicornis (female) | Furcifer pardalis (breeding coloration) | Jeweled Chameleon (Furcifer lateralis) | Langaha madagascariensis (male) snake | Green Jeweled chameleon near Isalo | Bright green Furcifer lateralis chameleon near Isalo | Furcifer lateralis (green) | Oplurus cuvieri iguana | Collared iguanid (Oplurus cuvieri) lizard | Phelsuma madagascariensis kochi day gecko | Phelsuma madagascariensis kochi gecko | Phelsuma quadriocellata gecko | Uroplatus fimbriatus on tree trunk | Uroplatus fimbriatus leaf-tailed gecko | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Skink | Sailfin lizard | Slender snout crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus) | King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) | Snake | Snake necked turtle (Chelodina seinbenrocki) | Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilius) | Spectacled caiman | Common green iguana (Iguana iguana) | Tortoise | Water dragon (Physignatus lesurii)

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Blue-Tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) | Australian water dragon (Physignatus lesurii) | Fijian iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) | Tortoise - unknown | American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) | Crowned adamid (Hypsilurus dilophus) | Komodo Dragon | Estuary gharial | False gharial - Tomistoma schlegelii | House gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) | Bright green lizard (Bronchocela cristatella?) in Java, Indonesia | Green Bronchocela cristatella lizard | Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella) | Gecko lizard species with black markings | House gecko on yellow-orange background | Painted Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) in a tree | Giant forest gecko (Gecko stentor) with turquoise eyes | Varanus salvator monitor lizard | Common Bronzeback snake eating a frog | Cave Dwelling Ratsnake (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) | Blue-eyed lizard in Malaysian rainforest | Bronzeback snake in a tree | Tree snake in Malaysia | Green Sea Turtle, Australia | Yellow-bellied sea snake, Costa Rica | Emarld boas | lizard close, Grand Canyon | whiptail closeup, Grand Canyon | Anole, Honduras | Basiliscus Lizard, Honduras

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Blunt-headed tree snake (Imantodes lentiferus) | Unknown bright green lizard in the Peruvian Amazon | Tortoises mating on a lawn | Green bush viper (Atheris species) in Kibale Forest | Blue-headed Tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) on a tree trunk | Blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Elliot's Chameleon (Chamaeleo ellioti), close headshot | Brown skink with white spots | Stranded green sea turtle | Yellow margined Box turtle (Cistoclemmys flavomarginata) from southern China | Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) | Green sea turtle | Green sea turtle | American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) | Black Tree Monitor (Varanus beccarii) | Blood Python (Python curtus) | Fly River Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) | Green Tree Monitor (Varanus prasinus) | Green Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus) | Matamata Turtle (Chelus fimbriatus) | Basilisk | Iguana | Panther chameleon's prehensile tail | Pardalis chameleon near Maroantsetra | Brookesia chameleon in soil | Fucifer chameleon on arm | Panther Chameleon catching insect with tongue | Brookesia superciliaris | Brookesia peyrierasi chameleon in palm

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Brookesia peyrierasi in palm of hand | Brookesia superciliaris chameleon | Calumma brevicornis chameleon (female) | Calumma nasuta chameleon | Calumma nasutus chameleon | Calumma nasutus chameleon on hand | Calumma parsoni chameleon near Perinet | Calumma parsonii (juvenile) | Furcifer oustaleti chameleon | Phelsuma mutabilis gecko | Langaha madagascariensis (female) snake | Madagascar iguanid | Young Panther chameleon | Mimophis | Phelsuma day gecko in Morondava | Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) | Oplurus cuvieri at Kirindy | Oplurus cuvieri (Collared iguanid) | Oplurus cuvieri collared iguanid lizard | Adult pardalis chameleon | Phelsuma day gecko | Phelsuma madagascariensis kochi in shower | Phelsuma mutabilis gecko | Phelsuma Day Gecko, Nosy Mangabe | Phelsuma Gecko, Nosy Mangabe | Phelsuma gecko | Phelsuma Day Gecko in leaf | Geochelone radiata tortoise | Skink in moss | Tree boa

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Uroplatus fimbriatus, close head shot from above | Uroplatus fimbriatus - head shot from side | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Leaf-tailed gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Leaf-tailed gecko | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus on trunk | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus gecko on Nosy Mangabe | Uroplatus fimbriatus - full body | Uroplatus phantasticus gecko | Zonosaurus ornatus lizard | Gecko | Alligator mississippiensis | Surveying crocodile hatchlings | Green agama dragon lizard on tree trunk | Bright green lizard (Bronchocela cristatella?) on tree trunk in Java, Indonesia | Sphenomorphus skink species on Java | Water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) on a branch above the Seikonyer River | Water monitor (Varanus salvator) making its way through the Borneo swamp forest | Tropidophorus micropus skink | Hemidactylus gecko species with black markings | House gecko in Sulawesi | House gecko | Sphenomorphus skink species in Sulawesi

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Gmelin's Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) | Painted Bronzeback snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) | Wild Mountain Horned Dragon (Acanthosaurus armata) on tree trunk | Mountain Horned Dragon lizard (Acanthosaurus armata) | Green-eyed gecko (Gecko stentor) | Green-eyed gecko (Gecko stentor) | Small water monitor lizard sunning itself | Small water monitor lizard taking in the sun on the grass | Varanus salvator monitor lizard on the move | Gmelin's Bronzeback snake snake eating a frog | Painted Bronzeback Gmelin snake swallowing a frog | Cave Dwelling Racer (Elaphe taeniura ridleyi) swallowing a bat | Blue-eyed forest lizard in the Malaysian jungle; greenish-brown body | Blue-eyed forest dragon of the Malaysian jungle | Monitor Lizard, Australia | Monitor Lizard, Australia | Spiny tail Iguana, Costa Rica | Anole, Costa Rica | Black Iguana, Costa Rica | spiney lizard, Grand Canyon | spiney lizard rock, Grand Canyon | Anole, Honduras | Uroplatus Gecko, Madagascar | Several side-necked turtles (Podocnemis sp.) on log | Brown anole lizard | Yellow spotted Side-necked turtle (Podocnemis sp.) on log | Anole lizard | Turniptail Gecko or Turnip-tailed Gecko (Thecadactylus rapicauda) on tree trunk in Peru | Bright green male anole lizard on canopy tower | Male anole lizard on trunk of Kapok tree

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Male anole lizard displaying its bright orange dewlap | Male Green Anolis lizard in canopy | Anole lizard on vine | Blunt-headed tree snake (Imantodes lentiferus) | Yellow-footed Tortoise (Geochelone denticulata) | Yellow-footed Tortoise (Geochelone denticulata) | Dwarf caiman (Palpebrosus trigonatus) in rainforest pond | Examining a large snake | Amazon race runner (Ameiva ameiva) in Peru | Amazon race runner (Ameiva ameiva) in Peru | Amazon race runner (Ameiva ameiva) in Peru | Anole lizard (Anolis fuscoauratus) in Peru | Cicada and anole lizard sharing a tree trunk | Mabuya bistriata skink | Agama, Cambodia | Water Monitor, Thailand | Water Monitor, Thailand | Lizard, Venezuela | Agamid lizard | Tortoises mating | Green bush viper (Atheris sp) in Kibale | Blue-headed Tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) on a tree trunk | Female blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Blue-headed tree agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) [mature adult male] | Male blue-headed agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) on a tree | Green tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) on a tree trunk | Female tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) on a tree trunk | Elliot's Chameleon (Chamaeleo ellioti) on a plant leaf | Montane Side-striped Chameleon (Chamaeleo ellioti) resting on a leaf | Blue-headed agamid | Blue-headed tree agamid | Green Tree Agama (Acanthocerus atricollis) | Sea turtle digging nest | Female green sea turtle | Sea turtle hatchling | Green sea turtle marked for research | Sea turtle on beach at sunrise | Moss-backed or Green Haired turtle (Mauremys mutica) | South American turtle at the Shanghai aquarium
Related sections:
Madagascar lizards, Madagascar reptiles, Peru reptiles, Reptiles in Indonesia, Malaysian reptiles

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The reptiles are a group of vertebrate animals. Reptiles are tetrapods, and also are amniotes (animals whose embryos are surrounded by an amniotic membrane). Today they are represented by four orders:
  • Order Crocodilia (crocodiles and alligators): 23 species
  • Order Rhynchocephalia (tuataras from New Zealand): 2 species
  • Order Squamata (lizards, snakes and amphisbaenids {"worm-lizards"}): approximately 7,600 species
  • Order Testudines (turtles): approximately 300 species
Reptiles are found on every continent except for Antarctica, although their main distribution comprises the tropics and subtropics. Modern species of reptiles do not generate sufficient body heat to maintain a constant body temperature (see Leatherback Sea Turtle for an exception to this). Instead they rely on gathering and losing heat from the environment to regulate their internal temperature, such as by moving between sun and shade, or by preferential blood circulation (moving warmed blood into the body core, while pushing cool blood to the periphery). In their natural habitats, most species are adept at this, and can maintain mammalian, and even avian equivalent core body temperatures within a fairly narrow range. While this lack of internal heat imposes costs, in terms of requiring behavioral regulation, it also provides a large benefit by allowing for more efficient use of food. A reptile can survive on much less food than comparably sized mammals and birds, who burn most of their food for warmth. Most reptile species are oviparous (egg-laying). Many species of squamates, though, are capable of giving live birth. This is achieved, either through ovoviviparity (egg retention), or viviparity (babies born through no use of calcified eggs). Many of the viviparous species feed their young through various forms of placenta, just like mammals (Pianka & Vitt, 2003 pgs: 116-118).



Most reptiles have closed circulation via a three-chambered heart consisting of two atria and one, variably partitioned ventricle. There is usually one pair of aortic arches. In spite of this, due to the fluid dynamics of blood flow through the heart, there is little mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the three-chambered heart. Furthermore, the blood flow can be altered to either shunt deoxygenated blood to the body, or oxygenated blood to the lungs, which gives the animal greater control over its blood flow, allowing more effective thermoregulation and longer diving times for aquatic species. There are some interesting exceptions among reptiles. For instance crocodilians have an incredibly complicated four-chambered heart that is capable of becoming a functionally three-chambered heart during dives (Mazzotti, 1989 pg 47). Also, it has been discovered that some snake and lizard species (e.g. monitor lizards and pythons) have three-chambered hearts that become functional four-chambered hearts during contraction. This is made possible by a muscular ridge that subdivides the ventricle during ventricular diastole and completely divides it during ventricular systole. Because of this ridge, some of these squamates are capable of producing ventricular pressure differentials that are equivalent to those seen in mammalian and avian hearts (Wang et al, 2003).


All reptiles breathe using lungs. Reptiles don't normally breathe through their skin. The only exceptions to this are in aquatic turtles. These animals have developed more permeable skin, and even gills in their anal region, for some species (Orenstein, 2001). Even with these adaptations, breathing is never fully accomplished without lungs. Lung ventilation is accomplished differently in each main reptile group. In squamates the lungs are ventilated almost exclusively by the axial musculature. This is also the same musculature that is used during locomotion. Because of this constraint, most squamates are forced to hold their breath during intense runs. Some, though, have found a way around it. Varanids, and a few other lizard species, employ buccal pumping as a complement to their normal "axial breathing." This allows the animals to completely fill their lungs during intense locomotion, and thus remain aerobically active for a long time. Tegu lizards are known to possess a proto-diaphragm, which separates the pulmonary cavity from the visceral cavity. While not actually capable of movement, it does allow for greater lung inflation, by taking the weight of the viscera off the lungs (Klein et al, 2003). Crocodilians actually have a muscular diaphragm that is analogous to the mammalian diaphragm. The difference here, is that the muscles for this diaphragm pull the pubis (part of the pelvis, which is movable in crocodilians) back, which brings the liver down, thus freeing space for the lungs to expand. This type of diaphragmatic setup has been referred to as the "hepatic piston." Finally, there are the Turtles & Tortoises. How these animals breathe, has been the subject of much study. To date, only a few species have been studied thoroughly enough to get an idea of how turtles do it. The results indicate that turtles & tortoises have found a variety of solutions to this problem. Some turtles such as the Indian flapshell (Lissemys punctata) have a sheet of muscle that envelopes the lungs. When it contracts, the turtle can exhale. Many turtles & tortoises use special muscles, mixed with the use of their forelimbs, to accomplish breathing. Turtle lungs are attached to the inside of the top of the shell (carapace), with the bottom of the lungs attached (via connective tissue) to the rest of the viscera. By using a series of special muscles (roughly equivalent to a diaphragm), turtles are capable of pushing their viscera up and down; resulting in effective respiration. Since many of these muscles have attachment points in conjunction with their forelimbs (indeed, many of the muscles expand into the limb pockets during contraction), Turtles are actually capable of forcing air in and out, just by walking. Though turtles & tortoises have acquired a variety of different ways to achieve their breathing, one thing remains the same. They all must hold their breath when they withdraw into their shell (Orenstein, 2001).

Most reptiles lack a secondary palate. This means they must hold their breath while swallowing. Crocodylians have evolved a bony secondary palate that allows them to continue breathing while remaining submerged (and protect their brains from getting kicked in by struggling prey). Skinks (family Scincidae) also have evolved a bony secondary palate, to varying degrees. Snakes took a different approach and extended their trachea instead. Their tracheal extension sticks out like a fleshy straw, and allows these animals to swallow large prey without suffering from asphyxiation.


Excretion with 2 small kidneys, uric acid main nitrogenous waste product.


Advanced nervous system, compared to amphibians. They have twelve pairs of cranial nerves.


Separate sexes, internal fertilisation.

Amniotic eggs covered with leathery or calcareous shells: Amnion, chorion, and allantois present during embryonic life. No larval stages.

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    Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2012

    Pictures were taken by Rhett A. Butler, copyright 1996-2009. While these photos are the property of, it may be permissible to use them for non-commercial purposes (like powerpoint presentations and school projects), provided that the images are not altered in any form. Please read this for more details. If you are interested in using an image in a publication please contact me. is a free resource.