Spectacled caiman Facts

Spectacled caiman Facts
Spectacled caiman is a reptile that belongs to the family of alligators. There are 3 subspecies of spectacled caimans that can be found in Central and South America. Spectacled caimans inhabit lowland wetlands. They spend almost entire life in the slow-moving rivers, ponds and lakes. These animals are hunted because of their meat and eggs. Luckily, population of spectacled caimans is large and stable and they are not on the list of endangered animals.
Interesting Spectacled caiman Facts:
Spectacled caimans can reach 6.5 to 8 feet in length and 15 to 88 pounds of weight. Males are much larger than females.
Young spectacled caimans are yellow colored and covered with dark spots. Adult animals are grey-green colored.
Spectacled caimans are able to change the color of the skin and become dark-colored during the cold period of the year.
Sharp, triangular ridge around eyes and bony ridge between them together create illusion of spectacles. Hence the name - spectacled caiman.
Spectacled caimans have broad, blunt snout with 14 to 16 pairs of teeth in the upper jaw and 18 to 20 pairs of teeth in the lower jaw.
Illuminated eyes of spectacled caimans reflect red color during the night. Thanks to this unusual feature, spectacled caimans can be easily found in the dark.
Spectacled caimans are nocturnal creatures (active during the night).
Spectacled caimans are carnivores (meat-eaters). Their diet consists of fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and snails. Spectacled caimans use their bodies to force the fish toward the shallow water, where they can easily catch them.
Spectacled caimans attack and eat other caimans when food sources are scarce. This phenomenon is known as cannibalism.
During prolonged periods of drought, spectacled caimans retreat into the mud and aestivate (become dormant) until environmental conditions improve.
Mating season takes place during the April and May. Spectacled caimans produce roaring sounds, rub each others' backs and snouts, produce bubbles and circulate around potential partners when they are ready to mate.
Female lays 20 to 40 eggs in the mound made of rotting vegetation and soil. Decaying vegetation releases heat which keeps the eggs warm. Eggs hatch after incubation period of 90 days.
Incubation temperature determines the gender of the hatchlings. Females develop from eggs incubated on temperature above 32 degrees of Celsius. Temperature below 29 degrees of Celsius leads to development of males.
Females protect eggs during incubation and take care of the hatchlings during the first few months of their life. Spectacled caimans often form nurseries where one female takes care of numerous babies. Young caimans stay in the group until they reach the age of 18 months. Spectacled caimans reach sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 7 years.
Spectacled caimans can survive up to 75 years in the wild.

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