(Last Updated on : 20/06/2013)
Indian reptiles mainly inhabit in the numerous rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps or the other water bodies and they include the snakes, crocodiles, tortoise, turtle
etc. India is home to numerous reptile species and they constitute 6.2 percent of the total population of reptiles in the world. Out of all the Indian reptiles, about 30 have been listed as threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (IUCN 2006).
Snake in India
The snakes are one of the most common Indian reptiles. They belong to the order of Squamata or scaled reptiles, which is the largest order of reptiles, including both the lizards and the snakes. Snakes are the carnivorous reptiles that have an acute sense of sight and feel and they are also scaly, limbless and elongate reptiles. The main differences between snakes and lizards are that, the snakes do not have eyelids, external ear openings, and limbs, like the lizards.
The snakes have the poison glands that are actually some modified salivary glands. They secrete poison and it's their principal weapon for capturing prey. The snakes mainly inhabit in paddy fields and open sandy areas and they adapt to the environments in the tropical and temperate regions. Snakes smell the presence of food by their forked tongue and as they do not have external ears, they can only feel vibrations.
There is only one species of chameleon that is found in the Indian subcontinent. The scientific name is Chamaeleo zeylanicus. The term 'chameleon' is a combination of two Greek words, 'Chamai', meaning 'on the ground/earth' and Leon, meaning 'lion'. Thus, 'chameleon' means 'earth lion'.
Gharial in India
Gharial is the largest crocodile species in the world. It belongs to the Gavialidae family. Gharial Crocodiles of India do have an elongated and narrow snout, which gradually thins with growing age. There is a bulbous growth on the tip of an adult male's snout, known as 'ghara'.
Mugger Crocodile in India
Mugger crocodile is a member of Crocodylidae Family and is scientifically known as Crocodylus palustris. The colour of adult Mugger crocodiles of India is bright olive, while the young ones are on the paler side. The entire body of this species is spotted with black and scaled. Outer toes as well as fingers are webbed at the base.
Tortoise and Turtle in India
Indian turtle, along with tortoise and terrapin, belongs to the Testudines order of reptiles and the Chelonia crown group. Indian tortoise has both an endoskeleton as well as an exoskeleton. The length of a tortoise differs between a few centimetres and two meters.. The body of a turtle is covered with special bony or cartilaginous shell, which is developed from its ribs. One of the oldest reptile groups, the turtle of India was in existence even before lizards and snakes.
Water Monitor in India
Indian Water Monitor lizard is one of the largest as well as the heaviest form of lizards, second only to the Komodo Monitors. The usual length of a water monitor is around 4 feet. Its entire upper body is full with round and protruding scales and the abdomen is covered with smooth scales.