National Geographic News


PREVIOUS | NEXT

This green water dragon's scales are like puzzle pieces, linked tightly together over the skin. They protect the animal's skin like a knight's chain mail coat. Most reptiles have horny scales called scutes, but lizards and snakes shed their scales as they grow. Turtles and alligators grow new layers of scales instead.

Scales don't keep animals warm, so scaled animals are cold-blooded. Their body temperature changes with the air around them.

Photograph copyright CORBIS

Close this Window

© 2002 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.