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Reptile and Amphibian Identification Key

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Getting Started
Reptile and Amphibian Identification Key
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Simple Ways to Identify Reptile and Amphibian Groups

Through a series of steps, this key will help you to learn the basics of identifying the main families of reptiles and amphibians. The steps are simple, all you'll need to do is examine the animal and determine such features as the type of skin it has, whether or not it has a tail, and whether or not it has legs. With these bits of information, you'll be well on your way to identifying the type of animal you're observing.

As you proceed, please keep in mind:

  • This key assumes that you are pretty certain the animal you're identifying is an amphibian or a reptile of some kind. For instance, this key doesn't apply to creatures that have feathers, fur, fins, or six legs and compound eyes—if you're observing any such animal, then you're not dealing with a reptile or an amphibian.
  • The identification of any animal is a cummulative process that relies on careful observation. These steps enable you to categorize amphibians and reptiles with increasing precision. This means the more questions you answer, the more detailed a classification you can obtain.
  • Links to previous steps enable you to revisit past questions and understand the decisions that preceded each step.
  • Once you have reached the end of an identification series, there is a summary of the animal's taxonomic classification.

Note: This identification key does not enable the classification of animals down to the level of individual species. In many cases, it enables you to identify an animal's order or family.

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