Dwarf Caiman Facts

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Dwarf caimans are found in cool, fast flowing forest streams and rivers. Discover facts about dwarf caimans with information from a published biologist in this free video on crocodilian reptiles.

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Video Transcript

Here we have a dwarf caman. Its scientific name is paleosuchus trigonatus. It has a large range in South America, including the Amazon River. This species is found in and around cool, fast flowing forest streams and rivers. It can often even be found in waterfalls or rapids. It seems to prefer cooler water than other crocodilians. This particular species is the second smallest crocodilian in the world, only growing from four to six feet. The smallest is another species of dwarf caiman, caveas dwarf caiman getting no longer than four to four and a half feet. They have these beautiful brown eyes, while most crocodilians have yellow eyes. This species has more and larger bonier plates called osteoderms, than most other crocodilians. You can see that their feet are very interesting because they lack webbing. This shows that as adults they tend to become more terrestrial and are found in higher uplands. In crocodilians, the species, the sex of the species is determined by temperature that the eggs are incubated. Incubation time of this particular species is longer than most crocodilians. They lay clutches of ten to twenty eggs, and they take about a hundred to a hundred and fifteen days to incubate. This species feeds on birds, fish, reptiles, and even large mammals. The females are very interesting in the way that they build their nests. They build their nests out of decaying vegetation, and they actually lay their nests next to termite mounds. Apparently the mounds provide heat generation for the nest, sometimes they'll even build on an old nest site even if the termite nest is dead. The heat from the decaying vegetation in the nest is sufficient to incubate the eggs properly. This is the only species of crocodilian that nests around termites this way, and the behavior may help compensate for the lack of heat from sunlight and the shady forest habitats that these animals are known to live in.


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