Each year on October 21st, people across the nation observe National Reptile Awareness Day. Created not only for reptile lovers to celebrate, National Reptile Awareness Day promotes education, conservation, and appreciation for reptiles. It is a day to learn about their natural habitats and the ecological threats that they are facing.
A reptile is a vertebrate that is neither a mammal nor a bird, is cold-blooded, has scales or scutes, and can lay shelled eggs on land. Scutes are the thick bony or horny plates which form the dermal layer of such reptiles like turtles and crocodiles.
There are more than 10,000 species of reptiles. The day promotes the wide varieties, their habitats, and how we benefit from reptiles, too.
While the history of reptiles may go hundreds of millions of years back, National Reptile Awareness Day has a short history in comparison. It wasn’t really until 1966 when the first Endangered Species Act was passed that awareness of the needs and threats facing reptiles (or any animal, for that matter) started to make its way into our cultural mainstream.
With the passing of that act, a push toward conservation started taking the forefront. National Reptile Awareness Day wouldn’t exist without the efforts of that movement. In fact, many reptiles wouldn’t be around today without the help of the Endangered Species Act. While National Reptile Awareness Day may have a small history compared to its subjects, it’s still part of a historically important movement to help protect and conserve all species of animals.