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27 Examples of Animals with Scales (A to Z List +Pictures)

examples of animals with scales

Examples of animals with scales include birds, snakes, armadillos, butterflies, and crocodiles.

Some animals have scales, and some do not. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some animals have scales because they live in water, while others might have it as part of their natural defense mechanisms.

Scales can be found on the skin of fish, reptiles, and amphibians. They provide protection from predators, help regulate body temperature, and allow animals to move more easily through their environment.

Examples of Animals that with Scales

1. American Alligator

American Alligator
Scientific NameA. mississippiensis
Conservation Status Least Concern
Where it’s Found Southeastern United States

Alligators have small scales up and down their body called ‘scutes’. The American alligator is what people often refer to when they say “alligator.” It is endemic to the United States, and they are hunted down during the gator season.

2. Anacondas

Scientific NameEunectes murinus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeSouth America

The anaconda is a snake found in the rainforest of South America. These snakes can grow up to 30 feet long and weigh over 550 pounds.

Anacondas have scales that help them move through the water and also act as protection from predators.

3. Armadillo

Scientific NameCingulata
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeTexas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Louisiana

Armadillos are mammals that have scales on their backs. These scales help to protect them from predators. Armadillos live in North and South America, and they eat insects, grubs, and other small invertebrates.

4. Butterflies

Scientific NameRhopalocera
Type of AnimalInsect

The butterfly is a beautiful insect that has scales on its wings. The scales help give the wings their color and also make them strong and durable. Butterflies can be found all over the world, and they typically eat pollen or nectar from flowers.

5. Butterflyfish

Scientific NameChaetodontidae
Type of AnimalFish
Rangetropical reefs

Most fish have scales, so we can only share a few examples here with some great pictures of vibrant scales. The tropical butterflyfish has a great, tall side where you can see its scales glitter as it swims among the reefs.

Related Article: Are Butterflyfish Skinny?

6. California King Snake

California King Snake
Scientific NameLampropeltis getula californiae
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeGolden State

All snakes have scales, so we’re sharing a few examples in this list. You can see in the image above that the California kingsnake has scales that run up and down its body. This one has a great combination of yellow and black scales up and down the body.

7. Chameleons

Scientific NameChamaeleonidae
Type of AnimalReptile

Chameleons have colorless scales. The light shines through the scales to crystals underneath. When the chameleon changes colors, it is the crystals that change color and not the scales.

8. Chinese Pangolin

Scientific NameManis pentadactyla
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeNepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh, and China

This animal is also known as the scaly anteater. They are insectivores, eating ants and termites that live in their burrows. These animals have scales to protect them from ant bites.

9. Chinese Alligator

chinese alligator
Scientific NameA. sinensis 
Conservation Status Critically Endangered
Where it’s Found Eastern China

The Chinese alligator is the other remaining type of alligator in the world, and it’s an endangered species. It is endemic to China, and it is known as the muddy dragon. The Chinese alligator, also known as the Yangtze alligator, has scales called schutes.

10. Dwarf Crocodile

Scientific NameOsteolaemus tetraspis
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangewestern Africa

The dwarf crocodile is a tiny species of crocodilian that lives in Africa. It has small scales, and its bodies are covered with osteoderms (armor-like skin) to protect them from predators.

11. Gar

Alligator gar
Scientific NameLepisosteidae
Type of AnimalFish
RangeMississippi River

The gar is a fish that lives in North America. It has scales along its body to help protect it from predators. The gar can be found in both fresh and saltwater, and it primarily eats insects and other small fish.

12. Goldfish

Scientific NameCarassius auratus
Type of AnimalFish

The goldfish is an animal with scales that you may even have in your own home. Its orange shiny scales glitter in the light.

13. Great White Shark

great white shark
Scientific NameCarcharodon carcharias
Type of AnimalFish
RangeSouth Africa, Australia/New Zealand, the North Atlantic, and Northeastern Pacific.

The Great white shark also known as the great white, white pointer, or the white shark, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is the largest known predatory fish on Earth.

The great white shark has a large, bulky body with a broad head and an elongated snout. It has very large eyes and its teeth are triangular and serrated.

14. Ground Pangolin

Scientific NameSmutsia temminckii
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeSouth Africa

The pangolin is an interesting animal that has scales all over its body. It is a protected species and can be found in Africa and Asia.

The pangolin eats insects, primarily ants, and termites. They use their long tongues to capture the prey, and then they eat them whole.

15. Iguana

Galapagos Land Iguana
Scientific NameIguana
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeMexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and southern Brazil

This reptile is native to Central and South America. They can grow up to six feet long! However, the size of an iguana depends on its habitat; those living in colder climates tend to be much smaller than their counterparts who live in warmer environments

16. Indian Pangolin

Scientific NameManis crassicaudata
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeBangladesh, Southern Nepal, Sri Lanka, India

This is a type of anteater that can be found in parts of Asia and Africa. They have scales all over their bodies, which help them to camouflage into their surroundings. They eat mainly insects, but will also consume other small animals if they are available.

17. Lizard

Girdled Lizard
Scientific NameLacertilia
Type of AnimalReptile

The lizard is a common animal that has scales. They live in warm climates and eat insects, small rodents, and other lizards. Lizards can be found all over the world with the exception of Antarctica.

18. Long-tailed Pangolin

Scientific NameManis tetradactyla
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangecentral Africa

The long-tailed pangolin is a mammal that can be found in Africa and Asia. They have scales all over their bodies as a natural defense mechanism. This helps to protect them from predators, as well as parasites and insects.

Pangolins are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night. During the day they like to sleep in burrows that they dig themselves. They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists of things like insects, earthworms, millipedes, and other small creatures.

19. Mamba

Eastern Green Mamba
Scientific NameDendroaspis
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangeeastern Africa

The mamba is a type of snake found in Africa. They can be black or green in color, and they are known for their deadly venom. The scales on a mamba’s body help it to move easily through the brush and trees as it hunts its prey.

20. Moth

Scientific NameLepidoptera
Type of AnimalInsect

Commonly visible at nighttime. Moths are distributed in cities all over the world. Like butterflies, they have tiny scales on their wings which are flexible and fragile. These scales give them their characteristic color and, at the same time, allow them to regulate their body temperature in order to survive.

21. Nile Crocodile

Nile Crocodile
Scientific NameCrocodylus niloticus
Type of AnimalReptile
Rangesub-Saharan Africa, the Nile Basin, and Madagascar

The Nile crocodile is a large, aquatic reptile that can be found in Africa. They typically live near rivers and other bodies of water and eat fish, mammals, and birds. They have scales on their backs, bellies, and tails to help them move through the water easily.

They are often considered to be the most dangerous type of alligator or crocodiles because their temperament is highly aggressive and they will attack on sight if given a chance.

The Nile Crocodile feeds primarily on fish (particularly catfish), but will also consume small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

22. Parrot (Scaled Legs)

African Grey Parrot
Scientific NamePsittaciformes
Type of AnimalBird

Like many other birds, the legs of a parrot are covered in soft overlapping scales. These serve to protect the inner skin of the bird, which is why they are not hard. Apart from protective purposes, scales on parrots prevent the bird from water loss.

23. Pike

Scientific NameEsox lucius
Type of AnimalFish
RangeArctic portions of North America, Europe, Asia, and Siberia

Pikes are a type of fish that can be found in both fresh and saltwater. They have an elongated body with a pointed head and sharp teeth. You can see in this image that the pike has beautiful shiny silver scales.

24. Pythons

Ball Python
Scientific NamePython
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAsia, Africa, Oceania and Australia

Pythons are large snakes that have scales and they live in Africa, Australia, Asia, and the Pacific islands. Pythons eat other reptiles like lizards and birds as well as mammals such as rats or pigs.

And this is what makes them so dangerous because not only can they kill animals ten times their size but also humans that will be unfortunate enough to cross paths with them.

25. Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile
Scientific NameCrocodylus porosus
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeSoutheast Asia, and northern Australia.

The saltwater crocodile is a large crocodilian found in tropical climates around the world. They live near water and eat mainly fish, crustaceans, and other small aquatic creatures.

Their scales are very thick and they have short, round snouts. Their eyes are small to help protect them from water that gets into their nostrils while swimming.

26. Turtles

Snapping Turtle
Scientific NameTestudines
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAll Over The World

Turtles actually have scales on both their skin and their shells. The scales on the shell and skin are different, but all of the scales are quite tough to protect the turtle from predators.

27. Yellow Perch Fish

yellow perch
Scientific Name Monocentris japonica
Type of AnimalFish
RangeNew South Wales, and Western Australia

Most fish have scales, but not all. An example of a fish with scales is the yellow perch, which is a common fish in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, including up and down the American and Canadian east coasts.

The yellow perch’s scales experience new growth in May each year.

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