Caiman

Species profile

Name: caimans are aquatic reptiles that are closely related to alligators. There are six species including: the spectacled, black, yacare, smooth-fronted, broad-scouted, and Cuvier’s dwarf caiman.

Appearance: caimans have wide, flattened bodies and long, muscular tails which can propel them through the water at great speed. Their nostrils and eyes are located on the tops of their snouts which means they can breathe and see while underwater. They have strong jaws which contain a row of cone-shaped teeth that can be snapped shut to catch prey.

Size: caimans range in size from around 1.5 to 6.0 metres long depending on the species. Black caimans are the largest species and can weigh up to 1.1 tonnes.

Diet: catfish, piranha, crustaceans, and small aquatic animals make up the bulk of their diet although they are also known to hunt birds, amphibians, and larger mammals such as capybara and wild pigs.

Did you know: caimans have a transparent third eyelid which helps to protect their eyes when they are in the water. They also have flaps over their ears, nose, and throat to prevent water from entering. This allows them to catch fish while swimming with their mouths open without water entering their lungs.

Location: caimans are found across a wide range of wetland habitats throughout Central and South America.

Best places to see caiman

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see caiman are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Los Llanos
Colombia
100%
very high
5.0
very good
1
reports
Madre de Dios
Peru
100%
very high
4.8
very good
4
reports
Tortuguero
Costa Rica
100%
very high
2.0
average
1
reports