The Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians explores the anatomy, defense, locomotion, distribution, reproduction, and feeding habits of reptiles and amphibians. Amphibians were the first vertebrates to live on land and are the group from which mammals and reptiles, including birds, evolved.
A great range of these animals’ physical forms is on view, from the tiny Cuban frog to the goliath frog and the Japanese giant salamander, the Galápagos giant tortoise to the powerful crocodile, accompanied by explanations of the widely diverse ways in which they move, protect themselves, chase prey, and reproduce.
Exhibits include the leatherback sea turtle laying eggs in its nest, the Australian frilled lizard raising its frill of skin to exaggerate its size to a predator, and the endangered Komodo dragon stretching its jaws across the belly of a wild boar. Although now bred in captivity, the Komodo dragons’ continued existence in the wild depends on the maintenance of their native habitat. Also on view in the hall are modern crocodiles and alligators, whose ancestors survived the mass extinction 65 million years ago.