Reptiles Law and Legal Definition

Reptiles are four-legged vertebrates that are found on every continent except Antarctica. Reptiles are separated into the following orders:

  • Order Crocodylia (crocodiles and alligators): 23 species
  • Order Rhynchocephalia (tuataras from New Zealand): 2 species
  • Order Squamata (lizards, snakes and amphisbaenas): approximately 7,600 species
  • Order Testudines (turtles): approximately 300 species

Some of the reptiles found in the U.S. include the common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina), spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata), eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), common map turtle (Graptemys geographica), ouachita map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica ouachitensis), midland painted turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata), red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera), midland smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica mutica), northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus hyacinthinus), ground skink (Scincella lateralis), five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus), broadhead skink (Eumeces laticeps), northern coal skink (Eumeces anthracinus anthracinus), European wall lizard (Podarcis muralis), queen snake (Regina septemvittata), Kirtland's snake (Clonophis kirtlandii), northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon), Lake Erie watersnake (Nerodia sipedon insularum), copperbelly water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta), northern brown snake (Storeria dekayi dekayi), midland brown snake (Storeria dekayi wrightorum), northern redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata), eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis), eastern plains garter snake (Thamnophis radix radix), Butler's garter snake (Thamnophis butleri), shorthead garter snake (Thamnophis brachystoma), eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus), northern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus septentrionalis), eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos), eastern smooth earth snake (Virginia valeriae valeriae), northern ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii), midwest worm snake (Carphophis amoenus helenae), eastern worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus), black racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor), blue racer (Coluber constrictor foxii), rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus), smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis vernalis), black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), eastern fox snake (Elaphe vulpina gloydi), black kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula nigra), eastern milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen), eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus), and timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus horridus).