Schneider's Dwarf Caiman
The Schneider's Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) is found throughout south America in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. They inhabit freshwater rivers, specifically shallower ones, although adults spend much of their time in burrows and away from the water.
They become more active at night and are a very terrestrial species, patrolling their vast territories along rivers to feed. They have been reported living at altitudes as high as 1,000 m or more in Venezuela. This species walks with a distinctive posture, with the head held high.
The Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman species is slightly larger than its close relative the Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman. Their range also overlaps with the Cuvier's Dwarf caiman species in Venezuela and Bolivia.
Males will usually reach from 1.7 to 2.3 m in length, with a maximum recorded length of 2.6 m. They are also known by other common names like Smooth-fronted caiman, Jacaré Coroa, Cochirre, Jacaré curua or Yacaré coroa.
Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman - Diet
Their diet as with most crocodilians will change with age. Juveniles will eat a much greater proportion of fish in comparison with other caiman species. Adults will include a terrestrial vertebrates in their diet, such as snakes and mammals.
Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman - Reproduction
This species tend to be solitary, only coming together in the breeding season. The species is able to reproduce at lengths of 1.3, about 10 to 20 years of age. The female builds a mound nest at the beginning of the rainy season laying from 10 to 20 eggs.
They often will do so close to termite mounds, this helps maintaining the nest's temperature. The incubation period is about 115 days, which can be considered long for a crocodilian. The Juveniles will disperse after the hatching.
Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman - Conservation status and major threats
The hunting pressure on this species has been sufficiently low, as to avoid any major impact and damaging wild populations. The major threats to the Schneider's Dwarf Caiman now and in the future include habitat destruction and degradation, and also pollution often associated with gold mining activities.
The estimated wild population is over 1,000,000 individuals. This species is listed in CITES Appendix II, and in IUCN Red List as Low Risk species.
Did you know?
Crocodiles like the extinct dinosaurs live on the planet Earth for 240 million years.