Common Name:

Type: Reptile

Family: Alligatoridae

Range: The Caimans are found throughout the Central U.S. and South America and Costa Rica from marches and swamp to Mangrove River and lakes.

Size: 1.1m – 5m (43in – 197in)

Weight: It is weighing 100kg – 500kg (220lbs – 1,102lbs)

Diet: As young, the various caiman species feed on crustaceans, insects, small fish, amphibians, small mammals, and birds. As adults, they feed on fish, other reptiles, birds, amphibians, and a range of mammalian species.

Average life span: 30 – 40 years

Habitat: Mangroves, Estuaries, marshes and swamps, jungle of Central, South America and Costa Rica,

Colors: Green, Brown, Black, Grey

Breeding/Reproduction: Sexual maturity is 5-15 years, depending on the species. Female caimans make a big nest; it can be more than 1.5 meters wide in which they lay their eggs. The female lay between 10 to 70 eggs depends on the spices and hatch about 6 weeks. Once they have hatched, the mother takes her young to a shallow pool of water where they can learn how to hunt and swim.

Related Animal: They are very close related to alligators and crocodiles

Caimans which mean “crocodile” in Spanish belong to the family of Crocodylidae in the order of Crocodilia. These in layman terms are the smaller kin of the crocodiles. They are also known as Spectacled Caiman or “Pululo” which mean short and fat in Spanish These species are found mostly in Central and South America but they lived mostly in the damp lowlands of Costa Rica. More sightings are found mostly in the little creeks, playas, swamps, in the banks of a river or an enclosed pond in the reserves of Cañas, Taboga, Rio Frio, Tirimbina, La Selva, as well as the prominent parks and wildlife centre in Palo Verde National Park, Tortuguero National Park and Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica.

Since it is sometimes called in Costa Rica as Pululo, which means fat, they have a weight of approximately 65 kg. And they are short as well compared to American Crocodile. They only measures mostly four to eight feet long. Often, they are mistaken as an American Crocodile but they have distinguishing factors. The spectacled caiman has a more bluish-greenish color or a yellowish or brownish color so it is easy for them to camouflage when in water because they can look like a log or takes the color of the water. They can also hide in floating water vegetation. They have raised nostrils so they have the ability to breathe underwater even when they body was mostly submerged. They are also called Spectacled Caiman because they appear to be wearing spectacle due to their bridged of bone between the eyes. The caiman’s teeth are not exposed. They also have a dark color crossing in the body and the tail. Their belly has a more of cream or whitish color plus them also golden eyes.

Most Spectacled Caimans stays in the muddy floor of a steady water. Mostly, after the male and female mated, these females will lay from 15 to almost 40 eggs then they build a nest from plants or other materials they could find near water. The caimans are known for being devoted parents. The mother took care of their young. They nest the eggs to incubate for approximately 73 to 90 days, when they are ready to hatched, baby caimans produced sounds calling the mother’s attention to clear the nest and assist them to the water. Parents protect their young from predators. These baby caimans eat mostly insects and crustaceans while the diet of the adult varies from fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and even dead body of an animal.

Costa Rica, preserves houses many species of animals, so mostly the predators of caimans are anacondas, big family of cats and of course humans. There is illegal market for caiman in Costa Rica. Many caimans are killed for their skin or traded for making it as exotic pets. Populations of caimans in Costa Rica still suffers from hunting but since their skin is not as good as other species of crocodile to be made as belts or bags, the populations of caiman are still healthy in Costa Rica.

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