Of the four living groups of reptiles, only one, the snakes and lizards is represented in Britain. Reptiles bodies are covered with scales. Lizards periodically shed their skins in flakes, while snakes cast off theirs as a single slough.

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Why Does Britain Have so few Reptiles?

Both amphibians and reptiles are cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals. This means that they cannot regulate their body temperature without the warmth of the sun, they need to bask in sunlight, or on a warm rock in order to survive. The relatively cool climate and the fact that Britain is an island have contributed to the paucity of British amphibian and reptile fauna. The English Channel has been the main barrier to the invasion of these animals from continental Europe, which has over 80 species.

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