In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
Reptiles and amphibians are traditionally studied together under the scientific field "herpetology" (from the Greek herpein, to creep). Visit the NBII Amphibians Project to learn more about amphibians.
Amphisbaenians, lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodilians, and tuatara make up the 8,734 known reptile species of the world. Their size and shape are tremendously diverse, from the largest living turtle, the leatherback sea turtle, to the tiny, 16mm gecko (Sphaerodactylus ariasae). Despite the great diversity, scientists are concerned that the diversity of reptiles in the world is declining. Volunteering at an organization dedicated to conservation is one way to help prevent reptiles in the wild from becoming endangered or extinct.
Numerous species of amphibians and reptiles have been introduced into the United States. They often come as hitch hikers on cargo and imported plants. Many also are introduced into nonnative habitat by people releasing their unwanted pets.