The broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostrits) is found in South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Normally inhabiting tropical forests, they prefer ponds and slow moving rivers as their habitat.
Broad-snouted caiman can be found mostly in freshwater marshes, swamps, and mangroves, they are also be found in man made ponds for the cattle industry.
Their common name is derived from the species most notable physical characteristic, its very broad snout, which is even broader than that of the American alligator. The snout also presents a characteristic ridge which runs down along it. Their dorsal surface is heavily ossified. Adults specimens are show a pale olive green color, with some presenting spots on the jaws.
This species can live for about 50 years, considered a medium-sized crocodile species measuring an average of 1.5 to 2.5 meters (5 to 8,2 ft). Females are smaller than males, the adult specimens have an olive green color, they have an extremely strong bite.
Broad-Snouted Caiman - Diet
Their diet consists mainly of small invertebrates, and it can crush shells to feed on turtles and their favorite food, aquatic snails. As their size increases, so does its prey size, it will then include in the diet birds, fish, and reptiles.
Broad-Snouted Caiman - Reproduction
The female lays an average of 20 to 60 eggs, and builds the nest among the vegetation near the water, after the nest is finished is covered with sand and dry leaves to protect against predators. The eggs are laid in two layers, creating a temperature difference between them, resulting in a more even ratio of males and females.
After about 70 days, the hatchlings quickly seek water to protect themselves from their natural predators such as hawks and other animals. Either one or both parents will guard the juveniles for an indeterminate period.
Broad-Snouted Caiman - Conservation status and major threats
Although the hunting of this specie as been prohibited in most countries in their range, this practice still persists in some regions, as their skin is considered very valuable because its very smooth texture.
However the main threat to the Broad-Snouted Caiman in nowadays is habitat destruction, due to deforestation an pollution. The latest data shows that healthy populations still exist in most areas of their habitat, the exception being the Bolivian population, which is considered to be severely depleted.
Did you know?
The Everglades is the only place in the world where we find alligators and crocodiles.