Are Crocodiles Amphibians Or Reptiles?

Crocodiles are majestic creatures and are also known as symbols of fear. They are mainly famous due to their bite power and massive size, but many other reasons make them popular as celebrities.

They are ancient creatures with an evolutionary history of more than 200 to 250 million years. From the Mesozoic Era (Dinosaurs era) to today, they sustain their existence by adopting the changes happening in their surroundings.

Having different questions about such creatures is not uncommon. Are crocodiles Amphibians or Reptiles? It is also among those questions which most searched about these creatures.

Crocodiles are reptiles, not amphibians. The primary reason for asking such a question is that crocodiles are similar to amphibians in some ways. Such as, both amphibians and crocodiles can live in water and on land. Both lay eggs for reproduction purposes. One thing about asking the question is that amphibians are the ancestors of crocodiles.

This answer is not enough about the topic, but we will go deeper. So, let’s start.

What Similarities Do Reptiles and Amphibians Have?

1.  Evolutionary System

The evolutionary history of reptiles and crocodiles is almost the same, which means they share the same genetics. So, having the same adaptations is a common thing about them.

Their ancestors possessed four limbs with streamlined bodies. The adaptations which they contain due to their relationships with their ancestors are the things that lead us to the misconception of considering crocodiles as amphibians.

2.  Cold-Blooded Animals

Amphibians are cold-blooded animals, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature with the help of their body adaptations. For this, they rely on their surroundings.

Such is the case with crocodiles. They absorb heat from their external environment to maintain their body temperature. Just like that, when they want to decrease their body temperature, they go in the water or cold places like under trees.

3.  Semi-Aquatic Animals

Amphibians possess permeable skin, which helps them a lot in their survival. It enables them to breathe in water because, with its help, they can exchange gases between their body and water. To breathe on land they have lungs which are mainly helpful while breathing on land.

In the case of crocodiles, they also can live in both places. It is important to know they cannot stay underwater as long as amphibians can, but they can sustain it for an hour or two hours. They have no adaptation to breathe underwater. They breathe with the help of their lungs.

Crocodiles possess eyes, noses, and ears on the upper side of their mouth. So, they can hide their body underwater while breathing and keeping an eye on their prey.

4.  Reproduction System

The way of reproduction is the same for both crocodiles and amphibians. They lay eggs, which later reproduce their offspring.

Further, crocodiles and amphibians show parental care for eggs after laying them.

After knowing about the similarities between crocodiles and amphibians, it’s time to know the difference which separates crocodiles from amphibians and makes them a reptile.

What Makes Crocodile A Reptile?

While crocodiles have some familiar adaptations with amphibians, they also contain some traits that make them reptiles.

1.  Skin

Crocodiles possess hard-scaled and dry skin, while the skin of an amphibian is not harsh. Amphibians possess thin permeable skin, which helps them to breathe in water.

Crocodiles’ skin also protects them from predators and makes it almost impossible for them to tear croc’s skin.

2.  External Reproduction

Amphibians and crocodiles both lay eggs, but there is something more about it. The eggs of crocodiles are too hard, but amphibians’ eggs are so soft and have a little thin layer around them.

Further, crocodiles lay eggs on land and make protective places such as nests or mounds to protect them. They do parental care until the eggs hatch. Despite this, amphibians lay eggs in water or moist environments. They also do parental care for a little time.

The main fertilization difference between crocodiles and amphibians is that crocodiles do external fertilization while amphibians do internal fertilization.

It means that after laying eggs in a female crocodile, the males throw sperm in. This process happens at the cloaca of a female crocodile which is an opening throughout body material. This way, their fertilization occurs externally.

Conversely, amphibian males mate with their females and enter sperm into their bodies. Females contain a specific place where eggs and sperm meet. This way, they promote internal fertilization.

Further, the crocodile’s offspring hatch from eggs as mini creatures while amphibians’ children start from larvae to adults.

3.  Skin Shedding

Crocodiles’ skin differs from amphibians, but they also can shed their skin. They do not shed it, just like snakes, but they do it. They shed their scales individually, but amphibians cannot do it.


It is not just crocodiles that we can misjudge. The lizard salamander is an amphibian, but most consider it a reptile. Just like that, wildlife is full of such phenomena.

All similarities which lead us to misjudge crocodiles as a reptile are mentioned above; we also talked about the traits which make a crocodile a reptile. After all that, I hope you will get the answer to “Are crocodiles amphibians or reptiles”?

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