Are Turtles Reptiles or Amphibians

Are Turtles Reptiles or Amphibians?

Are turtles reptiles or amphibians? Or, mammals perhaps? 

If you are confused and you don’t know the difference between reptiles and amphibians, I got you. I was confused, too. As a turtle owner, I always look to learn more about these amazing animals that originated way back to the time when dinosaurs walked through the earth. 

I am a curious person by nature, so I’ve made some research, and here is what I found. 

Turtles are cold-blooded animals classified as reptiles. Turtles are not amphibians nor mammals. The origin of the reptiles dates back to 300 million years ago. 

That was the short answer. In this article, I’ll deep dive into the subject and I’ll explain the similarities and the differences between these types of animals. 

Let’s get started!

What is an Amphibian? 

Amphibians are ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals of the class Amphibia. They are one of the most interesting classes of animals on earth. The term Amphibian is used to describe types of animals that live on land or in water. The first part of their lives amphibians spend in the water, where through metamorphosis, later on, transition on land. 

Most amphibians lay eggs in freshwater. After some time, the eggs hatch, and then, they enter their larvae stage. In this stage, they have gills and breath underwater just like fish do. Through metamorphosis, their bodies change where they develop lungs and limbs in order to survive on land. One of the most popular and well-known amphibians are frogs. 

What is a Reptile? 

Reptiles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals of the class Reptilian. The earliest type of reptile dates back to 312 million ago. Since then, they evolved in many different varieties. Today, it’s estimated that there are over 8000 different kinds of reptiles on earth. One of the most popular and well-known reptiles are turtles. 

Similarities and Differences Between Reptiles and Amphibians

At first sight, reptiles and amphibians seem quite similar. In fact, they are so similar that oftentimes it is so hard to distinguish one from another. Both classes of animals are cold-blooded, they both live on land and water at certain points of their lives, and they both have a similar visual appearance. It’s believed that reptiles evolved from amphibians, therefore the similarities between them. However, there are some differences between both classes, which make turtles classified as reptiles. Let’s look at them!


  • Both amphibians and reptiles are ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals. It means that their internal sources of heat are small, and they mainly depend on external sources of heat.
  • They have similar defense mechanisms. They often use camouflage as protection from predators. 
  • Both classes are vertebrates.


  • Both of the classes lay eggs, however, amphibians lay in the water, compared to reptiles that lay on the land. 
  • Amphibians breathe through gills, lungs, and through their skin compared to reptiles that breathe only through lungs. 
  • Unlike Amphibians, reptiles don’t have a larval stage.
  • Amphibians have moist and smooth skin that they use as a secondary respiratory organ. Reptiles have dry skin with scales.

Final Thoughts 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and you’ve found it informative. Exploring animals and learning about their nature has always been a passion of mine. 

Turtles are one of the most fascinating animals that have ever lived on the earth. They have been living on this planet for approximately 220 million years. They have stood the test of time and survived. 

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