16 Difference between Amphibians and Reptiles (With Table)

Amphibians are organisms with dual life. These organisms can live both on land and in water.  Research shows that amphibians have porous skin that needs moisture. 

Reptiles are live on dry land and usually breathe through the lungs. These viviparous organisms have scales on their bodies to preserve moisture and offer protection against mechanical injuries. 

Amphibians and reptiles share common similarities. It could be the reason why there was no zoological classification in the past. Many people usually find it challenging to tell the difference between amphibians and reptiles ks2.

So, what is the main difference between amphibians and reptiles? The former live-in aquatic environment during the larval stage and adults migrate to land while the latter are adapted to live on the terrestrial environment. 

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. These are individuals that help to tell the differences between reptiles and amphibians in the world. 

This article provides further differences between amphibians and reptiles in a tabular form. Take the time to read through and get to know the similarities between reptiles and amphibians. 

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Comparison Table (Amphibians vs Reptiles)

Basic Terms




These are cold-blooded vertebrates that live in water and land.

These are cold-blooded vertebrates adapted to the terrestrial environment.

Unique Feature

Have a dual-mode of existence.

These are creeping or crawling animals.


Smooth, moist, and highly porous.

Dry scales made from keratin.


Have glands on the skin to remove toxic secretions from the skin.

The skin has no such glands.


Adults respire through skin and lungs.

Offspring respire through gills.

Pulmonary respiration.


Have short forelimbs with long hindlimbs that are webbed.

Have four limbs except for that snake that crawls.

Heart Structure

Has three-chambered hearts with two auricles and one ventricle.

Some have four-chambered hearts while the other three-chambered heart.

Eyes Vision

Cannot distinguish numerous colors.

Have more advanced color sense and visual depth.


Even tongue

Bifurcated tongue

Cranial nerves

10 pairs

12 pairs


About 370 years ago

About 310 years ago.


Over 5500 species

Over 6500 species

Nitrogenous waste


Uric acid





Lay eggs in water and cover with gel

Lay eggs on the land cover with a hard calcareous and leathery protective covering.


Contain aquatic larval form

No aquatic larval form

What Are Amphibians?

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that have a dual life. They tend to live both on land and water. Some of the common examples are toads, frogs, and salamanders.

The animals in this class breathe through gills and lungs. Their fertilization process takes place externally. Metamorphosis is the life cycle of amphibians.

These organisms secrete highly toxic substances for killing insects and also offering protection for themselves in case of danger. The most interesting thing is that they have webbed feet and short limbs for jumping and swimming in water.

What Are Reptiles?

Reptiles are a group of animals that live on land and breathe through the lungs. Their body is covered with scales and retain moisture to function well. They also tend to lay eggs.

These vertebrates are also known as ectothermic and they do not experience metamorphosis. Examples of animals in this class are turtles, alligators, snakes, and lizards.

The most wonderful thing is that they have scaly skin that is hard and not permeable to water. The feature enables some animals like water snakes and crocodiles to live in a saline environment.

Main Difference between Amphibians and Reptiles

  1. Amphibians have dual life (land and water) while reptiles have single life (land).
  2. Amphibians undergo metamorphosis whereas reptiles do not experience any larval stages.
  3. Salamanders, frogs, and toads are examples of amphibians while snakes, lizards, and turtles are examples of reptiles.
  4. Amphibians exhibit external fertilization whereas reptiles exhibit internal fertilization.
  5. Amphibians tend to breathe through skin, gills, and lungs while reptiles breathe through lungs.
  6. Amphibians have a narrower range of color spectrum while reptiles have a wider range of the color spectrum.
  7. Amphibians tend to secrete highly toxic substances on their skin for protection against predators while reptiles have hard scales all over the skin for protection.
  8. Amphibians lay eggs in water covered by a gel while reptiles lay eggs on land which have a hard protective shell.

Similarities between Amphibians and Reptiles

  1. Both belong to Chordata and Vertebrata
  2. Both are cold-blooded animals
  3. Both are omnivores.
  4. Both tend to experience shedding of skin
  5. Both exhibit skin color alternation

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Both amphibians and reptiles are vertebrate animals that are cold-blooded. The most interesting thing is that they share many differences and similarities.

Scales and skin type are among the key factors that help to bring out the differences between the two. Lastly, take the time to read through the reptiles and amphibians list.

More Sources and References

  1. Reptile. Wikipedia 
  2. Amphibians. MRSD

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