Reptile Myths: Busted!

scary snake In honor of National Reptile Awareness Day (it’s today!) we decided to uncover the truth about some notable reptile myths. Tell us if you’ve heard these ones – or others that we missed.

Myth: Lizards are reptilian animals with four legs, external ear openings and movable eyelids.

Fact: There are a few varieties, like California’s legless lizard and the slender legless lizard which have the other lizard qualities, but live in such a way that legs are unnecessary. The classic four-leg lizard picture isn’t true for all of our reptilian pals!

Myth: Snakes like drinking milk.

Fact: We’re not sure where this myth originated, but it seems to be as a superstition. Snakes are actually unable to digest milk, and, as reptiles, have no inherent connection to the mammalian mammary glands that produce it.

Myth: Turtles are the only reptiles that carry Salmonella.

Fact: All reptiles are likely to carry Salmonella. It’s both carried and shed in their excrement, so it’s important to always wash your hands after handling your pets or any materials in their cages.

Myth: Some snakes are herbivores.

Fact: Every snake is a carnivore. Some eat live mammals or rodents, some eat amphibians and some eat other snakes. But none eat plants exclusively.

Myth: Alligators can’t climb.

Fact: They sure can. A low fence isn’t suitable protection for small animals that live anywhere near potential alligator habitats. Alligators’ legs are incredibly strong, and their bodies’ design – sharp claws, powerful tail – helps push them up. It’s not common for an alligator to chase a human (again, contrary to a popular myth), but if you ever find yourself being chased by an alligator, bear in mind that a short fence or tree climb won’t necessarily save you.

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