Are reptiles warm blooded or cold blooded?« Back to Questions List

A warm blooded creature can maintain its body temperature irrespective of the outside temperature. Unlike birds and mammals, reptiles are cold blooded. A reptile lacks internal mechanisms for controlling its body temperature, which changes along with the temperature of its surroundings. When the air temperature drops below about 65 degree Fahrenheit, most reptiles become sluggish and inactive; at 125 degree Fahrenheit, they die from overheating.


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By behaving in certain ways, reptiles can do to some extent regulate their body temperature. In the morning they often soak up the sun’s energy on a rock. During the heat of the day they may lift themselves high on their legs, allowing the air to cool their bodies. Some seek shelter at this time; others cool themselves by panting.


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Being cold blooded saves energy for the animal concerned. A two-pound rabbit (warm blooded) which uses 80% of the energy from its food just to maintain its body temperature must eat more than an iguana weighing 10 times as much.


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