Spectacled caiman in exhibit

Spectacled Caiman

Scientific Name

Caiman crocodilus

Class

Reptilia

Order

Crocodylia

Range

Central and South America

Habitat

Rivers and floodplains

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Spectacled caiman in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Spectacled caimans were named for the bony ridge above their eyes, which resembles a pair of glasses. Adults are dull green and can grow to more than six feet in length. They primarily eat fish, insects, frogs, birds, and even mammals. After breeding, females lay eggs in nests built with mud and leaves.

Interesting Fact 1

To survive during periods of extreme heat, spectacled caimans burrow into the mud and enter a state of hibernation.

Interesting Fact 2

Juveniles have a yellow tint and black bands, both of which disappear with age.

Animal Care staff working with seal

Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care. 

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.  

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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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