What Happens to a Reptile's Body Temperature When the Outdoor Temperature Increases?

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Reptiles are often described as coldblooded animals. This implies their blood is cold, but that's literally true. "Coldblooded" refers to a system of body temperature control. Reptiles have ectothermic body temperature regulation systems. Humans don't. Our bodies use homiothermic systems that maintain a constant internal temperature, regardless of external temperatures. Reptiles' body temperatures are directly dependent on external surroundings.

The Ectothermic Reptile

The reptile's body temperature rises when the external temperature rises. When the temperature drops, so does his body temperature. If a reptile feels cold because the external temperatures have made his blood cold, he'll lie in the sun to warm up. However, if the external temperature is too high, he scurries under a rock, dives in a pool or finds some kind of shade where he can cool down. Reptiles and other animals with ectothermic systems are vulnerable to extreme changes in temperature because they can't control their temperatures internally. They can control their body temperatures only by moving to an environment with a suitable ambient temperature.

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Author

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.