Critter Science

The Science of Animals

caiman

The Amazon’s Crocodilian… the Caiman

Among the large host of critters found in the Amazon is the caiman, a carnivorous (eats meat), semi-aquatic crocodilian that calls the Amazon rainforest its home. There are 6 known species of caiman found in Central and South America: in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, French Guyana, and even Cuba. The caiman can be found in flooded savannas, swamps, slow moving rivers, lakes, and mangroves. Read more and comment below.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Caimaninae
Weight: Up to 2,400 lbs.
Length: Up to 16 feet
Lifespan: Up to 40 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Their long, flattened tail is used for swimming and for protection against predators.

2.) Caimans have excellent sight and hearing.

3.) Its diet usually consists of crustaceans, fish, small reptiles, and birds. Young caimans eat a variety of invertebrates.

4.) Humans and jaguars are their primary predators.

5.) These crocodilians are beneficial to their environment in that larger caimans (black caiman) help to naturally cull capybaras and they all feed on piranha.

But wait, there’s more on the caiman!

6.) The caiman is a solitary creature that only comes together with others during the mating season; which is just after the dry season.

7.) They are nocturnal (active at night) hunters.

Did you know…?
A caiman not only has to look out for predators, it also has to look out for other caimans. That’s right… They’re cannibals!

8.) A caiman can swim at bursts of 30 mph!

9.) Females lay up to 65 eggs in a 5 foot wide mound she builds. When the eggs hatch she will tend to her young for a short time. See the video below.

10.) Like a lot of other reptiles, temperature plays a large role in the development of the young. Cooler temps equate to mostly females and warmer temps equal more males.

Now a Short Caiman Video!

Learn more about all kinds of cool critters here.

Be sure to comment below!

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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