Water

Reptile Health and Water Contamination

Reptiles are considered to be animals which have evolved from amphibians and have gone through multiple adaptations for them to be able to survive outside of water. They have been in existence on this planet since the dinosaur era. Reptiles could be found in various sizes and lengths. The length could range from 5 inches to 23 feet. The first animal that was classified as reptile appeared on Earth from the Carboniferous. The reptile’s development was very intense during the Mesozoic era during which several varieties of reptiles were developed. Today there are only four distinct varieties:

  • Crocodilians (crocodiles, gharials, caimans and alligators) consisting of about 23 species.
  • Sphenodontia (tuataras New Zealand) with only two distinct species.
  • Squamata (lizards, snakes and amphisbaenians) consisting of about 7900 species.
  • The Chelonia (turtles) composed of about 300 species.

Vital functions of a reptile, for example digestion, sensory function, or even the immune system or reproduction depend on body temperature. A reptile without heating or otherwise with heating too high for it can meet many health concerns:

  • Poor digestion
  • Inactivity
  • Vulnerable to infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stress
  • Weakness, weight loss

According to a report published in the journal Bioscience, the reptiles would be subject to greater environmental pressure than amphibians. One of the recent research by Whit Gibbons, a herpetologist and professor of ecology at the University of Georgia, has shown that amphibians are declining on a global scale. After this finding, the researchers wanted to see if the reptiles were facing similar problems. Indeed, in the history of life, the decline of reptiles has often been linked to that of amphibians. At present, it appears that the reptiles are disappearing faster than amphibians. The Fish and Wildlife Service lists 26 species of amphibians and 88 species of reptiles as endangered species.

Why clean water is important for reptiles’ survival

Temperature Regulation

Temperature regulation is top on the list when it comes to a reptile. Because they are cold blooded, they do not have an internal mechanism to regulate their body temperature, so they step out of the sun light and hide under a rock, or if they need to cool down quicker they just jump into a pool. Some even use the pool as a temperature regulation device. Keeping the water heated to the proper temperature has a deep impact on the immune system in reptiles. It is also important to have the water clean.

Water pollution is one of the major reasons why most reptiles are facing extinction. The conversion of wetlands to landfills and water pollution by pesticides are the main reasons for the extinction of many aquatic insects, fish, frogs and reptiles.  Studies have shown that if the water contains a high bacteria level then it might affect the actual well being of reptiles. For example, turtles, a common reptile which almost every one knows, could lose their shell due to bacterial infection. Once infected, these turtles lose their shell as huge flakes that in turn challenges their own survival.

We humans being so greedy are trying to do anything and everything to make our lives comfortable here on earth. Most of the times we care very little about our environment! We think that it is absolutely alright to deplete our resources for our short term gains and pollute them.  The above example shows that innocent animals are paying a huge price for our mistakes. Lives here on earth depend on each other. If we do not put enough efforts to help preserve other lives on this planet and live along with them then one day we human beings might face extinction.

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