Spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus

  Reptiles and amphibians

Spectacled caiman

Spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus

Identity card

Spectacled caiman

Scientific name:
Caiman crocodilus
Year of description:
Linnaeus, 1758
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

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From Mexico to the north of Argentina. It has been introduced in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the USA (Florida).


In the backwaters and swamps, mangroves, estuaries and slow-moving rivers of submerged rainforests.


It is rarely longer than 2.5 metres.


Fish, birds, amphibians and even mammals.

Spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus

In Nausicaá, they feed on chicken and fish just twice a month.


Spectacled caimans have a fairly slow metabolism. Young caiman feed on aquatic invertebrates. Adults hunt for larger prey such as fish, birds, amphibians and even mammals.

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Where is the animal to be found?

This caiman is native to South and Central America. It is the most common caiman in the world. It lives in backwaters and swamps, mangroves, estuaries, and slow-moving rivers of submerged rainforests.

How can it be recognised?

This reptile gets its name from the bony ridge between its eyes and its thick eyelids. It is rarely longer than 2.5 metres.

What is distinctive about it?

Like all animals that belong to the Crocodilian order, the spectacled caiman has survived the major geological changes. Already present at the time of the dinosaurs, they have succeeded in adapting to modern times, without having undergone any significant evolution.

Threat and protective measure

 It is protected by the Washington Convention and by the European Union. It is prized for its meat by indigenous populations. In some countries, the spectacled caiman can be sustainably managed: the rational farming of this species would maintain the balance of the ecosystems linked to caimans and could generate substantial revenues.

Spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?

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