If your child is fascinated with reptiles, they may want to keep their eyes peeled in the backyard or around town to catch a peek at their favorite lizard. The latest research shows that forest-dwelling lizards are genetically morphing to survive in the city and other urban areas, which is excellent news for reptile lovers.
Even if you’re unable to spot this unique reptile while out and about, gifts related to lizards, snakes and crocodiles are an excellent way to show your love. So, whether or not you share your child’s fascination for reptiles, here are the best toys, books and games to excite any reptile lover.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "The Puerto Rican crested anole, a brown lizard with a bright orange throat fan, has sprouted special scales to better cling to smooth surfaces like walls and windows and grown larger limbs to sprint across open areas."
While that might not seem like a monumental accomplishment to some, New York University (NYU) biology professor and main author of the study, Kristin Winchell, said, "We are watching evolution as it’s unfolding." For example, these lizards that once lived in forests and utilized claws to climb trees can now sprint across a hot parking lot due to the larger limbs and climb a smooth house with their unique scales. These changes help lizards escape from predators and survive in urban areas.
Winchell also noted implications for people. "If urban populations are evolving with parallel physical and genomic changes, we may even be able to predict how populations will respond to urbanization just by looking at genetic markers," she said.
Reptiles are air-breathing vertebrates with special skin consisting of scales, bony plates, or a combination. Snakes, alligators, crocodiles, turtles, tortoises and lizards are all considered reptiles. As cold-blooded animals, they cannot maintain a constant body temperature and instead rely on their surroundings to stay warm. Reptiles also have no fur or feathers for insulation to warm up or sweat glands to sweat and cool off. As a result, they move around to sunny or shady areas and often become inactive during cold seasons.
Many other reptile functions also rely on body temperature, including reproduction. So, the temperature of most reptile embryo’s environments can determine the gender. For example, eggs incubated at higher temperatures will produce one gender, while reptile eggs incubated at lower temperatures will create the opposite gender. However, not all reptiles lay eggs. Exceptions include Jackson’s chameleons, a few species of lizards and a few species of snakes.
For those ages 7 and up who love reptiles, consider this crocodile building set with a poseable body and jaw that opens and closes. As a three-in-one toy, it also transforms into a snake that actually slithers and a frog with an extending tongue, making it perfect for those fascinated with reptiles. Sold by Amazon
Robotic technology brings this lurking lizard to life in your very own home. With its lifelike design, this robo-lizard has glaring eyes, a rubber tail, and runs like an actual lizard. Plus, the motion tilt sensor allows it to realistically move its neck when searching for prey. Sold by Amazon
Can you check the crocodile’s teeth without getting chomped? Reptile lovers will enjoy playing this exciting crocodile game with other friends or the entire family. It’s simple to learn and quick to set up and put away. Sold by Amazon
Have you ever wondered which reptile is the fastest, strongest or toughest? In this book, reptiles will go head to head in the ultimate battle, and only one will come out on top. Learn fun facts and see realistic pictures while reading through this exciting adventure. Sold by Amazon
Regardless of the game or occasion, this tube comes with every kind of reptile. The tube holds 60 exciting animals, including 20 frogs, 15 lizards, 15 alligators and crocodiles and 10 snakes. Use them for birthday party favors or to play with at home. Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s
Kids can experience what it’s like to be a chameleon with this unique memory game. It comes with four wearable chameleon masks, and the first one to shoot their chameleon tongue out and snag the correct card gets the point. Plus, all the mouthpieces are washable and effortlessly come apart. Sold by Amazon
Learn about many species of lizards while relaxing or dreaming with this cozy blanket. It features the scientific name of 12 interesting reptiles, such as phelsuma madagascariensis and lacerta viridis. It’s also machine-washable for convenient cleaning. Sold by Amazon
Those who want to dig deeper and learn more about reptiles will have a blast with this junior scientist’s guide. It includes information about how to properly care for reptiles at home, fun facts about reptiles and actual, vibrant color photographs. Sold by Amazon
No child can go to sleep or out on a grand adventure without their favorite stuffed animal. If they love reptiles, consider this bearded dragon plush that's almost 2 feet long. It’s soft, squeezable and contains no small beads or plastic pellets, which could be a choking hazard. Sold by Amazon
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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.