Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman
The Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) is a small caiman from northern and central South America. This species is found in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname,Peru and Venezuela. They are semi aquatic creatures and can cover large distances on land. They prefer as their habitat swamp areas, ponds, and lakes.
The adult males can only reach a maximum length of up to 1.6 meters (5.2 ft), and up to 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) in females, it is considered the smallest of the crocodilian species. The juveniles are brown with black cross-banding. Adults are typically darker. They are believed to be the most primitive species of crocodilian.
They are covered by heavy scales in the back and also in the belly, these serve as an added protection because of their small size. Their skin is very tough and is therefore considered of poor quality when compared to other crocodilian species. They are also known by other names like, Cuvier's smooth-fronted caiman and Musky caiman.
Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman - Diet
The juveniles of the Cuvier’s dwarf caiman eat invertebrates, while adult caiman eat both fish and invertebrates.
Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman - Reproduction
Dwarf caimans are generally found alone or in pairs. The female makes a mound nest for laying the eggs (10 to 25), which is usually made of mud and is usually concealed. Hatchlings do not take place until after 90 days and parental involvement drop-offs after birth.
The gender of the young is influenced by the incubation temperature inside the nest. Higher temperatures typically will produce males, while females are developed in lower temperatures.
A thin protective film, coats the hatchlings, consequently its essential they remain ashore for at least the 1st day, while the coating dries out. This layer serves as a protective cover and prevents mold and algae or some other such growths on their body.
Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman - Conservation status and major threats
The major threats to the Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman comes from the destruction of their habitat, and pollution (gold mining activities have a major impact). Collection for the exotic pet trade has also helped to reduce population densities in some areas of several countries in their range.
The estimated wild population for this small caiman species is over 1,000,000 individuals. Despite the fact that we have good information in regard to population status and numbers, very little is known about the biology and ecology of this species, and further research will be needed.
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