Rainforest Black Caimans
Habitat: Rainforest black caimans are large reptiles that can be found throughout the tropical rainforest of South America, specifically around the Amazon River. As a freshwater species they prefer the slow moving rivers and streams, lakes and wetlands.
Diet: Rainforest black caimans are nocturnal and hunt at night. They eat everything from fish, turtles and birds to large prey such as deer, anacondas and even jaguars. Their large teeth are designed to grab and hold but not chew. Their jaws are like a vice grip clamping onto their prey until it drowns and can be swallowed whole.
Fun Facts: The largest species in the Alligatoridae family is the rainforest black caiman. Most males get to be 10-13 feet but have been known to exceed 16 feet and 800 pounds. They are imposing with their red eyes, dark scaly skin and over 72 intimidating teeth. Caimans usually lay about 30 eggs but can lay up to 65 eggs at one time. These eggs are food for many of the animals the caimans usually prey on. Snakes, birds and rodents feed on caiman eggs when the mother leaves the nest unattended to find food for herself. The eggs that make it through the 45-90 day incubation period will hatch into baby black caimans. The mother will carry them in her mouth to move them from the nest to a safer place in the water. The biggest threat to the caimans are humans who hunt them for skins and meat though rainforest black caimans have been known to eat a human or two.