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10 Amazing Reptile Facts You Never Knew

We’ve rudely assumed you don’t already know these amazing reptile facts! But you do - or at least, you will when you've read this!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  June 9th 2022

Lizards, Turtles, Alligators…You might think you know it all about these amazing creatures, but if working for the Beano has tortoise anything, it’s that you can never know all the facts about Reptiles! For this article we’ve phoned up (or crocodialled) an expert in reptiles and adder tell us some reptile facts we didn’t know already. She didn’t disappoint! And in case you were wondering, they’ll be no mention of frogs or toads in this article. They’re amphibibanned!

1. Reptiles can live to a ripe old age!

Reptiles are amongst the longest-living species known to scientists. The Aldabra tortoise can live for over 150 years (a good advertisment for spending the entire winter in bed!)

2. Some reptiles can detach then regrow their tails!

Some lizards can use the biological mechanism of Autonomy or “self-amputation” to escape from predators! It’s not as brutal as it sounds because lizards can actually regrow their tails! It’s not all good news, the new tail doesn’t have any bones or nerves! 

3. Chameleons can change colour!

Lizards like chameleons are capable of changing colour. Their nervous system can tell specific pigment sacs in their cells (called chromatophores) to expand or contract depending on the situation. Things like temperature and stress can cause this to occur and a side effect of this colour change means that sometimes Chameleons can camoflauge themselves when predators are around!

4. Geckos have hairy feet!

Gheckos have tiny, tiny hairs on the bottom of their feet. These hairs help them cling to walls where they can be found basking in the sunshine. What a time to be alive!

5. Reptiles are at home in the water even though they’re not Amphibians!


Most reptiles can swim, in fact the most abundant type of reptile is the Sea Snake! The green basilisk lizard however, can even run on water. It gets its other name “The Jesus Christ Lizard” from the Bible story where Jesus performs this same feat only a bit slower and more in a more dignified fashion

6. Some Reptiles are really small!

Everybody knows that komodo dragons are monstrous beasts, growing up to 2.6 metres long! But although the most famous reptiles are anacondas, alligators, giant tortoises, not all reptiles are gigantic. The smallest known lizard species on Earth is the Jaragua, the biggerst growing to a mere 15 millimetres long!

7. Chameleons can look in two directions at once!

Next time you’re watching TV and gaming on seperate screen at the same time, spare a thought for the chameleon! Their boggly eyes (not a sceintific term) allow them to look in two directions at once. It makes them highly suited for spotting delicious flies, scary predators, and multi-screening FIFA20 and Stranger Things!

8. Your hair is like snake scales

We’re not being rude, we promise. Not this time, anyway. Snake’s scales are made of a structual protein called keratin. It’s exactly the same stuff that our bodies use to create our fingernails and hair. This doesn’t come as any surprise to Medusa! (If you don’t get that not-very-funny-joke check out our Ancient Greek Myth Facts - The Beano has a famously broad curriculum!) 

9. The sex of turtle babies depends on the temperature!

Some types of Turtle show “temperature-dependent sex determination”. This means temperature outside the egg can decide whether the baby turtle is born male or female! If the temperature is below 27.7 Celsius, the turtle will be male! Reptiles in general are very temperature sensitive which is why they are particularly at risk from global warming.

10. Don’t sweat it for Reptiles!

Did you know that reptiles can’t sweat! This iswhy no reptile has slimy skin; A good way to tell the difference between reptiles and amphibians who are a bit oozy! Reptiles are never slimy, their skin  is almost always nice and dry!