The Broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) is a medium-sized crocodilian found in South America. The most notable physical characteristic of this species is the broad snout derived from its name. The snout is well adapted to rip through the dense vegetation of the marshes. Due to this, these caimans swallow some of the dense vegetation while foraging for food.
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Natatorial animals are those adapted for swimming. Some fish use their pectoral fins as the primary means of locomotion, sometimes termed labriform...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
An aquatic animal is an animal, either vertebrate or invertebrate, which lives in water for most or all of its life. It may breathe air or extract ...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Polygynandry is a mating system in which both males and females have multiple mating partners during a breeding season.
A dominance hierarchy (formerly and colloquially called a pecking order) is a type of social hierarchy that arises when members of animal social gr...
Aestivation is a state of animal dormancy, similar to hibernation, although taking place in the summer rather than the winter. Aestivation is chara...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
In the wild, adult Broad-snouted caimans normally grow to 2 to 2.5 m (6 ft 7 in to 8 ft 2 in) in length, but a few old males have been recorded to reach up to 3.5 m (11 ft). Captive adults were found to have weighed 29.2 to 62 kg (64 to 137 lb). Most tend to be of a light olive-green color. A few individuals have spots on their faces.
Broad-snouted caimans occur in eastern and central South America, including southeastern Brazil, northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. They prefer to live in freshwater marshes, swamps, and mangroves, usually in still or very slow-moving waters. They will also often use man-made cow ponds.
Broad-snouted caimans are highly aquatic creatures. They prefer to be on their own and are territorial. Broad-snouted caimans are ectothermic, meaning they depend on their external environment to regulate their body temperature. The heat of the sun is absorbed through the skin into the blood, keeping its body temperature up. An increased heart rate helps the newly absorbed heat transfer throughout the body more quickly. When the air becomes cooler, the need for the heart rate to remain at an increased rate is lost. In order to avoid predation Broad-snouted caimans typically hide in shelters.
Broad-snouted caimans are carnivores. Their diet consists mainly of small invertebrates, and they can crush shells to feed on turtles and snails (including ampullarid snails). All young Broad-snouted caimans have a diet consisting of mostly insects; however, as they grow, they increase their intake of birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
Broad-snouted caimans have a polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system; this means that both the males and the females have multiple partners. The breeding season of this species varies with location. In Brazil, they breed between August and January. In Uruguay, they breed in January and, in Argentina - from January to March. The female lays 18 to 50 eggs at a time. While rare, up to 129 eggs have been found within a single nest, presumably from several layings. They lay their eggs in two layers, with a slight temperature difference between the two layers. This will result in a more even ratio of males and females. Caimans do not have sex chromosomes but depend on temperature to determine the ratio of male and female offspring. Eggs at warmer temperatures (32 °C (90 °F) or higher) develop into males and eggs at cooler temperatures (31 °C (88 °F) or lower) develop into females. Incubation lasts for 2-3 months, during which the female defends her nest. When the young hatch, mothers help them break the shell and carry them to the water in their mouth.
The main threat to this species is hunting which began in the 1940s. Its skin is greatly valued for its smooth texture. Until most countries have made hunting them illegal, this was the largest threat to the Broad-snouted caiman. This helped them to regain their population. The new threat is habitat destruction. Deforestation and pollution run-off are the two leading causes to the destruction of their habitat.
According to IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Broad-snouted caiman is 500,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.