Guide to the Galleries of Reptiles and fishes
Pernio-Carboniferous formations, belong to the Rhynchocephalian type, of which onlyone representative is still living (in NewZealand). Reptiles flourished and attained their greatest development in the Secondary period -Pterosaurians (large flying Lizards, see Guide of the extremity of the snout ; the eyes and the ears likewise are near to the upper profile of the head, so that the animal can breathe, see, and hear whilst its body is immersed in the water, the upper part of the head only being
... he head only being raised above the surface. When it dives, the nostrils are closed by valves, a transparent membrane is drawn over the eye, aud the ear, which is a horizontal slit, is shut up by a movable projecting flap of the skin. The limbs are weak, the ante-]-10.] REPTILE GALLERY. rior provided with five, the posterior with four digits, of which three only are armed with claws, and which are united together by a more or less developed web. The tail is long, compressed, crested above, very powerful, and admirably adapted for propelling the body through the water. The back, tail, and l)elly are protected by a dermal armour formed of quadrangular shields, of which the dorsal and, in several Alligators, also the ventral contain true bone. The Crocodilians are thoroughly aquatic in their habits, and the most formidable of all the carnivorous freshwater animals. Crocodiles and Alligators, when young, and the Gharials throughout their existence, feed chiefly on fish ; but large Crocodiles attack every animal which they can overpower, and which they drown before devouring. The eggs, of which one (of Crocodilus porosus) is exhibited in Case 4, are oblong, hard-shelled, and deposited in holes on the banks of rivers and ponds. The flesh of these animals is not eaten, but their hides have lately been introduced as an article of commerce; a portion of the skin prepared for the trade may be seen in Case 4.