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12 Examples of Animals That Have Scales (Pictures)

Scales are an important part of many animals’ anatomy, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Most scales are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human fingernails and hair.

Scales provide these animals with protection from predators and the elements, and they help to regulate body temperature. In some species, scales can also be used as weapons. Here are some of the animals that have scales.

12 Types of Animals That Have Scales

1. Texas Horned Lizard

Texas horned lizard | image: depositphotos

Scientific Name: Phrynosoma cornutum

The Texas horned lizard is a small reptile found in the southwestern U.S. It is characterized by its spiny scales and horns on its head. The Texas horned lizard can grow to be up to five inches long and weighs up to three ounces.

It uses its scales for protection from predators. The spines on the scales help to deter predators and make it difficult for them to eat the lizard. It can also shoot blood from its eyes, which further deters predators.

2. Armadillo

Scientific Name: Cingulata

Armadillos are small to medium-sized mammals that are found in the Americas. They are characterized by their protective shell of scales, which is made up of bony plates.

There are around 20 different species of armadillo, and they come in various colors, including pink, gray, black, and yellow. Armadillos are nocturnal animals, and they use their sharp claws to dig burrows to sleep during the day.

Armadillos use their scales for protection from predators. When threatened, the three-banded armadillo will curl up into a ball, using its scales as armor. There is only one species of armadillo found in the United States, the nine-banded armadillo. Their range has been moving northward for many years now and in recent years have even been found in states like Tennessee and southern Kentucky.

3. American Alligator

American Alligator

Scientific Name: Alligator mississippiensis

The American alligator is a large reptile that can be found in the southeastern United States. It is the largest species of alligator, with males measuring up to 15.0 feet in length and females measuring up to 9.8 feet.

Alligators have thick, scaly skin that is greenish-black in color. They use their tails for swimming and their powerful jaws to catch prey. Alligators use their scales for protection from predators. The thick skin protects them from being punctured by teeth or claws, and the scales provide additional armor.

4. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Scientific Name: Crotalus adamanteus

The Eastern diamondback rattlesnake is a large, venomous snake that can be found in the southeastern United States. It is the largest rattlesnake species, and it can grow up to 8 feet in length.

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are characterized by their diamond-shaped patterns and their large, triangular heads. They use long, hollow fangs to inject venom into their prey. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes use their rattle to warn predators of their presence. The scales help to camouflage the snakes and make them difficult to see.

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5. Moth

Imperial Moth | Image by eliza28diamonds from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Lepidoptera

Moths are small to medium-sized insects found in various habitats all over the U.S. They are characterized by their scaly wings, which they use to fly.

There are over 160,000 species of moths, and they come in various colors, including brown, white, and black. Moths are nocturnal animals and use their long tongues for drinking nectar from flowers. Some moths, such as the gypsy moth, are considered to be pests because they can cause damage to crops and trees.

6. Goldfish

Scientific Name: Carassius auratus

Goldfish are small freshwater fish that are found in ponds and aquariums. They are characterized by their orange or yellow coloration and their long fins.

Goldfish come in various shapes and sizes, with some measuring just a few inches while others can grow up to 18 inches. Goldfish are popular pets because they are easy to care for and relatively low-maintenance. They use their scales for protection from predators and the environment. They also keep the fish warm in cold water and provide a barrier against parasites.

7. Pangolin

Image: AJT Johnsingh / CC by SA 4.0 / Wikicommons

Scientific Name: Manidae

Pangolins are small, nocturnal mammals that are found in Africa and Asia. They are characterized by their scaly armor, which is made up of overlapping plates.

There are eight different species of pangolin, and they come in a variety of colors, including brown, black, and gray. Pangolins use their long tongues to eat ants and termites. They also use their scales for protection from predators. They can grow to be up to 4.5 feet long and weigh up to 72 pounds. Pangolins are considered endangered animals because they are hunted for their meat and scales.

8. Common Carp

Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio

The common carp is a large freshwater fish found in lakes and rivers. It is characterized by its long body and barrels. Common carp can grow to be up to 25 inches in length and weigh up to 31 pounds. They are brown or green in color, with a dark-colored back and light-colored belly.

Common carp use their scales for protection, and they also use them to help them move through the water. The scales are tough and provide a barrier against predators and the environment. They are considered to be invasive species in the U.S because they compete with native fish for food and habitat.

9. Downy Woodpeckers

Scientific Name: Dryobates pubescens

Downy woodpeckers are small, black and white birds that are found in woods and forests. They are characterized by their short bills and round bodies. Downy woodpeckers measure between six and seven inches in length and can weigh up to one ounce.

Downy woodpeckers use their bills to drill into trees in search of food. They have scales on their feet that help them to grip the tree trunk. The scales also help to protect the downy woodpecker from injury.

10. Green Iguana

juvenile green iguana
juvenile green iguana
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Scientific Name: Iguana iguana

The green iguana is a large lizard found in the rainforests of Central and South America. They are characterized by their green coloration, which helps them to blend in with their environment. Green iguanas can grow to be up to six feet long and weigh up to 17.5 pounds.

The green iguana has different types of scales on its body that serve different purposes. The scales on its back are large and hard, which provides protection from predators. The scales on its belly are small and soft, which helps the iguana to move through the trees. The green iguana also has claws that help it to climb trees.

11. Gila Monster

Gila monster
Gila monster | Image by jessiegirl413 from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Heloderma suspectum

The Gila monster is a large lizard that is found in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. It is characterized by its thick body and colorful scales. The Gila monster can grow to be up to two feet long, weighing up to four pounds.

The patterned scales on the Gila monster’s skin provide camouflage and protection from predators. The Gila monster is also one of the only venomous lizards in the world, which helps to deter predators. The Gila monster is considered to be a near-threatened species due to habitat loss.

12. Great White Shark

Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias

The great white shark is a large, predatory fish found in the oceans. It is characterized by its white coloration and large size. Great white sharks can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh up to two tons.

The great white shark has tough, protective scales that cover its body. The scales help to reduce drag in the water, and they also provide protection from injury. It is an apex predator, and it is considered to be endangered.