The generation of bradykinin (BK) in blood by the action of the kallikrein-kinin system has been studied intensively in mammals but the system has received relatively little attention in non-mammalian vertebrates. The plasma of crocodilians and Testudines (turtles and tortoises) contains all the components of the kallikrein-kinin system found in mammals (prekallikrein activator, prekallikrein, kininogen, and kininases) and activation results in generation of [Thr6]-BK. Plasma of birds and snakes probably lacks a prekallikrein activator analogous to mammalian Factor XII but treatment with exogenous proteases (pig pancreatic kallikrein and/or trypsin) generates [Thr6, Leu8]-BK (chicken), [Ala1, Thr6]-BK (python) and [Val1, Thr6]-BK (colubrid snakes). The skins of certain frogs, particularly of the genus Rana, contain very high concentrations of BK-related peptides but their pathway of biosynthesis involves the action of cellular endoproteinase(s) cleaving at the site of single arginyl residues rather than by the action of the kallikrein-kinin system. Evidence for a prekallikrein activator in fish plasma is lacking but treatment with exogenous proteases generates [Arg0, Trp5, Leu8]-BK (trout and cod), [Trp5]-BK (bowfin and gar), [Met1, Met5]-BK (sturgeon). The cardiovascular actions and effects upon gastrointestinal smooth muscle of these peptides in their species of origin differ markedly. For example, intra-arterial injections of the native BK peptides into unanesthetized fish produce transient hypertension in the cod, complex depressor and pressor responses in the trout and bowfin and hypotension in the sturgeon. Pharmacological studies in snakes and fish and with the recombinantally expressed chicken BK receptor have demonstrated that the BK receptors in the tissues of non-mammalian vertebrates have appreciably different ligand binding properties from the well-characterized mammalian B1 and B2 receptors.