Smooth-Fronted Caiman

Smooth-Fronted Caiman

Schneider's dwarf caiman, Schneider's smooth-fronted caiman

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Paleosuchus trigonatus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
16-25 yrs
WEIGHT
9-36 kg
LENGTH
1.2-2.3 m

The Smooth-fronted caiman is a robust crocodilian, strong for its size, and tends to carry its head high with its neck angled upwards. It is a dark greyish-brown in color with mid-brown eyes. The scutes on the back of its neck and the tail are large, triangular, and sharp. This caiman has heavily ossified body armor on both its dorsal and ventral surfaces. The relatively short tail is broad at its base and the bony scutes on the tail have sideways projections; the tail is so well armored, that it is relatively inflexible.

No

Nocturnal

Ca

Carnivore

In

Insectivores

Pi

Piscivores

Se

Semiaquatic

Pr

Predator

Bu

Burrowing

Te

Terrestrial

Te

Territorial

So

Solitary

No

Not a migrant

S

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Smooth-fronted caimans are native to the Amazon and Orinoco Basins in South America and are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. They inhabit small streams in forested areas where in some cases, the water may be insufficiently deep for these caimans to completely submerge themselves. They are seldom seen in open areas and do not usually bask in the sun.

Smooth-Fronted Caiman habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Smooth-fronted caimans are very cryptic and nocturnal creatures. They are seldom observed by day because they hide in underwater burrows. They may also spend much of their time up to 100 m (330 ft) away from water, hiding in dense undergrowth, in hollow logs, or under fallen trees. These caimans are semiterrestrial and solitary. Males are territorial and females have small home ranges. They hunt not only in the water but also on the ground and may cover long distances in search of food.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Smooth-fronted caimans are carnivores. Adults mainly feed on porcupines, pacas, snakes, birds, and lizards, consuming few fish or mollusks. Hatchlings feed mainly on insects in their first few weeks, graduating to larger prey as they grow.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
end of the dry season
PREGNANCY DURATION
115 days
INCUBATION PERIOD
115 days
BABY CARRYING
10 to 20
FEMALE NAME
cow
MALE NAME
bull
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
10-15 eggs

The breeding season of Smooth-fronted caimans takes place at the end of the dry season. The female builds a large mound nest out of leaf litter and soil or may use a pre-existing nest. A clutch of 10 to 15 eggs is laid and covered with further nesting material. The incubation period is about 115 days and the female caiman remains near the nest for at least the earlier part of this time, providing protection against predators. When the eggs start to hatch the female helps the hatchlings to escape from the nest chamber. Having transported the newly emerged juveniles to a nursery area, the female stays with them for a few weeks after which time they disperse. Young females become reproductively mature and start to breed at about 11 years and males when they are about 20 years old.

Population

Population threats

The main threats to this species are the destruction of its forest habitat and pollution of its environment by gold mining activities. In Guyana, these caimans are often collected for the pet trade.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Smooth-fronted caiman total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. Smooth-Fronted Caiman on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smooth-fronted_caiman
2. Smooth-Fronted Caiman on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/46588/3010035

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