National Reptile Awareness Day Date in the current year: October 21, 2024

National Reptile Awareness Day National Reptile Awareness Day is celebrated annually on October 21. It was created to raise awareness of the importance of reptiles for ecosystems and promote reptile conservation efforts.

Reptiles are a group of cold-blooded tetrapods that comprise four orders: Crocodilia (crocodilians), Rhynchocephalia (the tuatara, a lizard-like reptile endemic to New Zealand), Squamata (snakes, lizards, and amphisbaenians), and Testudines (turtles). If you’re wondering why snakes are considered tetrapodes, that’s because their ancestors had four limbs.

Traditional Linnean taxonomy groups four reptilian orders under the class Reptilia. According to the Reptile Database, there are 11,940 living reptile species as of December 2022. It should also be noted that over 900 reptile species have a total of more than 2,000 subspecies. Living reptile species can range in size from 14-18 millimeters (the Jaragua dwarf gecko) to over 6 meters (the saltwater crocodile).

All reptiles, from crocodiles to the smallest of lizards, play an important role in their ecosystems. Large reptiles like the American alligator, king cobra, green anaconda, and saltwater crocodile are apex predators that control prey density and restrict smaller predators. Smaller carnivorous and omnivorous reptiles fill a critical role both as predator and prey species. In some areas, they help control the number of agricultural pests. Herbivorous reptiles act as seed dispersers and pollinators, particularly on island habitats.

Unfortunately, 196 reptile species are listed as critically endangered and 328 as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as of September 2016. This means that approximately one in five reptile species are at risk of extinction if nothing is done to protect them. The biggest threats to reptiles are hunting, illegal wildlife trade, habitat fragmentation and destruction caused by urbanization, farmland expansion and logging, climate change, and displacement by invasive species.

The origins of National Reptile Awareness Day are unclear, but the holiday has been promoted by Reptiles magazine and numerous conservation organizations across the nation. There are many ways to celebrate this amazing holiday. You can learn more about these fascinating creatures, check out reptiles at your local zoo or aquarium, inquire about sponsoring reptiles at your local pet or wildlife shelter, or donate to a wildlife organization that focuses on reptile conservation.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet reptile, maybe National Reptile Awareness Day is the day to finally do it! Of course, you should do your research first to make sure you’ll be able to give your cold-blooded pet the best possible life. If you already own a reptile, share pictures of your pet on social media with the hashtags #NationalReptileAwarenessDay and #ReptileAwarenessDay to promote the holiday. You can also ask the administration of your local school about bringing your pet reptile for a quick show and tell, regardless of whether you’re a student, parent or teacher.

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Ecological Observances, Unofficial Holidays



National Reptile Awareness Day, Reptile Awareness Day, observances in the US, environmental observances, unofficial holidays