Vertebrates Lesson 3: Reptiles part II

In the first part of reptiles lesson, I have written about the introduction of reptiles and lessons on turtles. In this post, I will continue writing about the lessons on other reptiles…

One reptile is chosen a day for the lessons as follows…

Snake: 

  1. Snake is a reptile that doesn’t have legs. They zigzag over the ground quickly.
  2. Snakes have no visible ear, so they don’t hear sounds as we do. But it’s not quite right to say that snakes are deaf. They have inner ear (cochlear apparatus) for hearing inside their heads, and it is attached to their jaw bones, so they feel vibrations very well. They don’t hear the bansuri music of the snake charmer, but they follow the bansuri movement because it considers the bansuri as a threat from the predator.
  3. Snakes have eyes with no eyelids but a transparent scale covering them. They have a good night vision but poor colour vision. Snakes could sense movement very well rather than static objects. Some pit vipers can sense heat (infra red light) from the living things with their pits in head not eyes.
  4. Snakes have two nostrils to breathe and they have good sense of smell to identify the prey and the distance they are at.
  5. Snakes do not have the right kind of teeth to chew their food so they must eat their catch whole.  The teeth are made for grabbing, holding, hooking but not for chewing. Their jaw is structured in such a way that it allows the mouth to open wider than their own body in order to swallow their prey whole.
  6. Most snakes eat insects, rodents, birds, eggs, fish, frogs, lizards and small mammals. The following facts with in the brackets will be of interest to the elementary children …(Constrictors will grab and hold their prey while wrapping their bodies around the victim and slowly “constricting” or tightening their coils until they squeeze the last breath out of their prey and the heart stops. Cobras, Vipers, Rattlesnakes, and other venomous snakes will maim or paralyze their prey by sinking their fangs into it before swallowing it.Have you ever wondered how a snake can swallow such big meals without chewing? Snakes have powerful muscles all along the front half of their bodies. Snakes use these muscles for moving as well as swallowing. The muscles move the food down along the throat and into the snake’s long stomach. Moving the food through the throat into the stomach can take 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the animal they are eating.In egg-eating snakes the sharp rib bones will poke through the eggshell to help speed along digestion. Food in the snake’s stomach can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months to breakup or digest. That is a long time to work on a meal! Believe it or not, some snakes only need to eat a couple times a year.)
  7. Snakes use their forked tongues to smell. Snakes have nostrils to breathe and smell. But a snake’s tongue is also very important. When a snake flicks its tongue in the air, it picks up tiny chemical particles.
  8. Snake venom is a special form of saliva that contains a range of zootoxins and is stored in something akin to our salivary gland. The toxic venom is stored in these specially protected glands until it is moved down through narrow tubules in the fangs (the sharp teeth of poisonous snake) and delivered into the snake’s prey.
  9. Every few months, the snake grows too big for its skin and it gets rid of its old skin by just crawling right out of it.

Snake picture cards from the reptiles folder for the lessons

Crocodilians:

  1. Alligators and crocodiles are crocodilians
  2. They both look much alike, but……………  An alligator has fatter and shorter jaws and he is smaller than crocodiles. They like to swim in fresh water and they live in swamps. Crocodiles are larger, thinner and faster than alligator. They have narrow and pointed snout. They like to live near salt water.
  3. Both eat fish, turtles, crabs and mammals.
  4. The mother builds nest to lay eggs and protect the nest from predators.
  5. Baby crocodilians hatch out of eggs and the mother assist them to water and protect them for one year.
  6. Crocodiles can be often seen with their jaws wide open.They open their jaws to cool themselves because they don’t have sweat glands.
  7. Crocodiles have between 60 and 72 teeth which they use to tear flesh apart. They do not chew their food, but instead swallow large portions of their prey.

Crocodilians picture cards for the lessons

Lizards: 

  1. Lizards have scaly skin and eyelids
  2. They have 4 legs with 5 toes on each foot. Lizards run very fast and they can swim as well.
  3. If a lizard looses it’s tail by accident, it can regrow it.
  4. They eat insects and worms.
  5. Lizards can be as small as 3 inches or longer up to 10 feet. Komado dragon is the longest lizard in the world.
  6. Most lizards live in trees and they are good climbers. They have sticky toe pads to climb.
  7. There are only two poisonous lizards . They are Gila monster and beaded lizard.
  8. Gecko is the house lizard that we commonly encounter. They come in various colours and patterns.
  9. Chameleons are the lizards that can change their colour to match their surroundings. This is called camouflage. And they can move their eyes independent of each other.

Lizards picture cards for the lessons

A child sorting out the reptiles cards from the folder.

Always we have rhymes, songs and crafts fun with our lessons. And various craft suggestions that we tried for our reptiles lesson are…….



Alligator castanets

And that’s our reptiles lesson.

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