Spectacled caiman in exhibit

Spectacled Caiman

Scientific Name
Caiman crocodilus
Geographic Range
Central American and northern South America
Birds, fish, amphibians, insects, and small mammals
Spectacled caiman in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Spectacled caimans are relatively small crocodiles that may reach 8–9 feet in length. They are olive in color with some yellow or black on them. They prefer areas with slow-moving water and can be found in both freshwater and saltwater areas. They remain immobile for most of the day and hunt at night.

They are solitary animals, except during mating season, which takes place between April and August. Males with a higher ranking based on size have more access to females. Females build their nests in the male’s territory, and both parents guard the 10–40 eggs as and young after hatching. Young caimans hunt for themselves and reach maturity between 4–7 years.

Did You Know?

  • Spectacled caimans are named for the bony ridges above their eyes, which resemble a pair of glasses.
  • They have the widest distribution of caiman or alligator species. Their range expanded due to a reduction in the number of larger crocodiles in the early 1900s.
  • These reptiles are highly adaptable; they can estivate, or hibernate in the summer, which happens when the climate becomes too hot and food is harder to find.


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