Common Caiman

Biological classification

Class: Reptilia

Order: Crocodylia

Family: Alligatoridae

Appearance

Males reach 2-2.5 m in length; females are not more than 1.4 m. The weight of adults varies from 10 to 50 kg. Young caimans are of yellowish-gray color with black spots and stripes all over the body; adults have a dark-olive color with light or dark transverse spots. There is a transverse roller on the head, between the front corners of the eye. There are three rows of large occipital shields on the neck.

Distribution and mode of life

The habitat of common caiman extends from Mexico on the north to Peru and Brazil on the south. In addition, species live on the territory of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname.

This species of caiman populates tropical and subtropical reservoirs, freshwater, densely overgrown with vegetation deep bays, estuaries and rivers. They can also live in brackish water.

Diet

Common caimans are predators greatly adapted for underwater hunting. In the wild caimans feed on almost any living organisms available in the area and appropriate for the age of the caiman. The diet of young individuals mainly consists of water insects. As the caiman grows, the percentage of invertebrates in the diet decreases, and enriches with crustaceans (crayfish and crab), mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles of amphibians, as well as mammals.

Breeding

Adult males occupy a certain territory and aggressively protect it from competitors that violate the boundaries of individual plots. Mating usually occurs in the season of high humidity, from April to August, depending on the climatic conditions of the range of populations. Caiman females construct nests from algae and rotting plant residues among the coastal thickets. Often, for laying eggs females use "communal" nests, carefully guarding them with joint efforts from predators. The laying is usually 15-40 eggs, on average 25. Incubation lasts from 65 to 104 days. After hatching, young caimans stay with the female at about one year of age. They reach puberty at the age of 4-7 years.

Environmental protection status

The species is on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (LC least concern), listed on the CITES (Annex II)

Common caimans in Kyiv zoo are kept by a group in the Ecological Module at the Island of Animals. The diet includes fish, meat. Feeding occurs twice a week, bringing the type of food closer to the natural one.

Common  Caiman