Imagine exploring the swamps of the tropics with your friends and suddenly something comes out from the water with a long scaly snout and two eyes. That’s a crocodile you’ve just spotted!
The crocodile is a fearsome aquatic reptile and is popularly known for its powerful jaws and explosive ambush attacks, amongst other characteristics we shall discuss later in this article.
The crocodile is neither cute nor furry, and often plays the “bad guy” in wildlife documentaries where it subtly leaps out at migrating animals in nature documentaries.
In this article, we discuss the 25 species of crocodiles living in the world today and the important and interesting information you should know about them.
What is a Crocodile
A crocodile is a type of reptile found in the warm, tropical climates of America, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Crocodiles are classified into three subfamilies which include the Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae, and the Gavialidae, of the order Crocodilia.
For all of these families, over 50% of all crocodiles come under the category of true Crocodylidae family, about two species left in the Gavialidae family and a few for the Alligatoridae family.
Crocodiles are generally large and lizard-shaped; they are covered in scales and have their ears, nostrils, and eyes uniquely located on the top of their head. This allows them to hide just below the water surface, where they spend most of their time.
Over the years, crocodilian populations, cut across all their range have declined with chances of extinction. A number of the species are currently listed as critically endangered and face a high risk of extinction. This is largely as a result of destruction of their habitat and their unregulated hunting because of the value of their skins for meat and in providing leather for shoes, handbags, belts and so on.
National protection and conservation measures have been implemented in some regions, to help regulate the hunt and trade of this reptile.
Physical Characteristics of Crocodiles
The crocodiles are known as the most advanced reptiles of our time, regardless of their prehistoric looks. Crocodiles have a vertebrate brain, four-chambered heart, and a diaphragm. Their respiratory system is quite impressive as it allows them to stay in water for as much as five hours at a stretch.
Crocodiles are generally characterized by broad bodies with long, muscular tails and short, webbed legs. These bodies are well streamlined to enable them to swim fast and their webbed feet allow them to conveniently navigate shallow water.
Crocodiles generally have thick, scaly skin with armored plates to help protect them from predators. They have a long and pointed head and snout with eyes and nostrils located on the top. This helps them hide in water without their bodies being overly exposed while laying in wait to ambush their prey.
Crocodiles also feature external flaps that close off their nostrils and ears. Their scales come in a number of colors, from green to dull olive, brown, black, and grey. This gives them a camouflaging ability in their vegetation and surrounding water.
When it comes down to size, crocodiles exist in a variety of sizes. For instance, an adult African dwarf crocodile which is the smallest crocodile species grows to about 6 feet (1.8m), and Saltwater crocodile being the largest grows to over 20 feet (6m).
Distribution and Habitat of Crocodiles
Crocodiles are semi-aquatic reptiles and can be found in all continents of the world, except for Antarctica and Europe. They live in wetland habitats, in tropical waters. Essentially, you will find them around freshwater and saltwater regions, in or near rivers, lakes, marshes, mangrove swamp, and so on.
Not all species of crocodiles can thrive in both freshwater and saltwater. True crocodiles for instance feature special glands in their tongues that help to get rid of excess salt in the saltwater. The alligators on the other hand do not come with these glands, and live best in freshwater habitat.
Like all reptiles, crocodiles are cold-blooded and are unable to generate heat on their own. As such, after spending time in the water, they also get to spend time on land, under the heat of the sun, in order to warm up their bodies. During seasons of little to no sun, they usually enter a state of somewhat hibernation, where they dig out a dredge or hovel in the side of a water body such as an estuary, lake, or riverbank. During this time of long sleep, all bodily processes slow down.
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Crocodile Diet: What do Crocodiles Eat
Crocodiles are primarily carnivores, which means they feed only on meat sources. In the wild, they prey on fish, birds, frogs, and crustaceans. They would clamp down on their prey with the help of their massive jaws, crush the prey and then swallow. Occasionally, these animals have been found to cannibalize on each other. In captivity, they feed on small animals already killed for them, like fish, mice, or rats.
Crocodiles eat relatively infrequently, which is common with cold-blooded animals. Thanks to their slow metabolism, they can survive for as long as two years without faking anything.
Unlike some other animals, they are incapable of chewing or breaking off small food pieces as some other animals do. To compensate for this inability are their ambush hunting techniques and massive strong jaw for tearing food apart.
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The 25 Different Types of Crocodile Species
1. Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus)
The Gharials, are sometimes called gavials, and essentially are a type of Asian crocodile that lives in clear freshwater river systems. They mostly congregate at river bends where there is reduced current and the water is deep.
The Gharials are one of the longest and biggest species of a crocodile with an average growth length of up to 18 feet (5.4m) and a weight of up to 2,000 pounds (907kg). They are characterized by their long, thin snouts. This adaptation, together with its sharp teeth is perfect for hunting their primary diet – fish.
Unlike other crocodiles, Gharials do not lunge or stalk their prey. They are highly specialized at predation which can be seen from their snout. These snouts are made of sensory cells to detect water vibrations. This way they can easily zero in on their prey and then use the jaw to grab them.
An adult gharial’s favorite food is fish, while their offspring also feed on insects, frogs, and crustaceans.
2. False Gharial (T. schlegelii)
The false gharial, also known by the names Tomistoma and Malayan gharial, is a large freshwater crocodilian and is native to Peninsular Malaysia, and Sarawak in Southeast Asia and Kalimantan, and Borneo Sumatra in Indonesia.
The false gharial is characterized by one of the slimmest snouts of all the types of crocodiles, similar to the case with the slender-snouted crocodile species and the freshwater crocodile.
Studies reveal that the false gharial is a very close relative to the gharial, and possibly shared the same ancestry at some point. A notable difference between these two species is the broadening of the false gharial’s snout toward its base, unlike the long and thin snout of its gharial relative. The false gharial seems to spend a large part of their time submerged in areas of mud and shallow waters where only their eyes and nostrils are visible.
The false gharial is an opportunistic carnivore. It preys on and feeds on a varied diet of amphibians, fish, shrimp, insects. It also preys on larger vertebrates such as small deer, small monkeys, water birds, long-tailed macaques, and their fellow reptiles.
3. Dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)
The dwarf crocodile otherwise known to be dwarf crocodile is the smallest of all types of crocodile and can be found across the plains of sub-Saharan West and West Central Africa such as rainforests, mangrove swamps, and slow-moving water bodies (rivers, streams or creeks). They have two subspecies, namely: the Congo dwarf and the West African dwarf.
The dwarf crocodile is the smallest species of a crocodile with an average length of up to 4.9 feet (1.5 meters). However, the highest recorded length of this crocodile species is 6.2 feet (1.8m).
Dwarf crocodiles are also known by other names such as the Broad-Snouted Crocodile, the black crocodile, and the Bony Crocodile. This is largely due to their physical features such as their black-colored body, with tough scales covering, and short, broad snout.
This species of crocodile is primarily a nocturnal one; which means that they are mostly active at night. They are also timid and slow by nature. Their primary diet consists of insects, fish, shrews, water birds, and lizards, and because of their nocturnal nature they like to feed at night.
4. West African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops cataphractus)
The West African slender-snouted crocodile is a long crocodile species that lives in the freshwater habitats of West Africa. The average of an adult West African slender-snouted crocodile is about 8.3 feet (2.5m) with an average weight of 125 to 325 kg (275-720lbs). The crocodile is characterized by a long, slender snout that is specially adapted for capturing its source of food which in this case is fish, amphibians, and crustaceans.
The West African slender-snouted crocodile also has bony crests on its skulls for protection. The primary diet of the West African slender-snouted crocodile is fish, crustaceans, and amphibians. As they grow to be adults, they occasionally prey on larger animals such as turtles, birds, aquatic snakes, and small mammals.
This crocodile has been classified as critically endangered, such that its numbers have greatly decreased in countries it exists in.
5. Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis)
The Philippine crocodile, sometimes called the Mindoro crocodile, is another critically endangered crocodile species and is endemic to the Philippines. They are relatively small, with an average size of 9ft (2.74m) Most of the time, you find them smaller than that.
The primary habitat of Philippine crocodiles consists of freshwater coastal areas such as small rivers, lakes, marshes, and ponds. This crocodile doesn’t generally pose any danger to the people unless it’s been harassed. The Philippine crocodile is characterized by a broad snout, dorsal brown scaly body with dark heavy armor and black stripes.
Juvenile Philippine crocodiles typically feed on small fish, dragonflies, shrimps, and snails, while their adults feed on aquatic birds, small mammals, crabs, domestic pigs, and snakes. The population has greatly declined and is near to extinction. Strict policies and measures have been put in place to prevent further exploitation and hunting.
6. Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis)
The Siamese Crocodile is a freshwater, medium-sized species of crocodile native to Asia. They are mainly found in slow-moving waters such as lakes, rivers, and swamps. Not much has been discovered about this crocodile species, but they are known to be characterized by a broad and smooth snout, an elevated and distinguished bony crest behind its head.
The Siamese Crocodile have their entire bodies covered in olive-green and dark green, which runs down to the tail. Their maximum size when fully grown is usually about 3.5m in length (11 ft).
The Siamese Crocodile is also one crocodile that is critically endangered and has even gone extinct in some areas where it used to be found. Their primary diet is small animals like fish, forge, snakes, frogs, and fish, and at rare times will tackle larger prey.
7. Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer)
The Cuban crocodile is a small crocodile species that is native to Cuba. This crocodile is a highly aggressive crocodile and is considered very dangerous to humans. You commonly find them in freshwater rivers and marshes.
The typical size attained by an adult Cuban crocodile is between 6.9 and 7.5 feet (2.1-2.3m) and the weight on the other hand is between 70 to 80 kg (31-36lbs). They have short and broad heads with a bond ridge at the back of the eyes. Of all the extant species of crocodiles, the Cuban croc is the most terrestrial, thanks to its strong legs.
The Cuban crocodile juveniles feed on small fish and invertebrates, and as they grow much bigger, they begin to feed on big fish, small mammals, and turtles. Cuban crocodiles are one of the best swimmers as their strong tail thrusts enable them to leap and catch prey (birds and mammals) swiftly.
The Cuban crocodile had been listed as one of the critically endangered species of crocodiles. This is due to the prevalent hunting activities in the region. In the past, they were spread across the Caribbean, but in recent times have been limited to the Zapata Swamp of Cuba and the Isle of Youth.
8. Smooth Fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus)
The Smooth Fronted Caiman or also called as Schneider’s dwarf Caiman is a robust crocodile majorly found in Orinoco river basins as well as the Amazon in South America. They also love to spend time in burrows. The Smooth Fronted Caiman is the smallest of the family of caimans with a body length of 1.8 meters long (5.9ft).
The Smooth Fronted Caiman are a powerful species of crocodiles known for their tendency to always carry their cranium high and their neck always pitched upwards. They get their name from the absence of the ridge between the eyes typical of the caiman family. This reptile is characterized by dark grayish-brown eyes and dusk grayish-brown fur.
The Smooth Fronted Caiman features large, triangular, and spiky scutes covering the end of its narrows and tail. Both the dorsal and ventral surfaces have tough ossified body protection. As a typical carnivore, the Smooth Fronted Caiman feeds on animals such as fish, birds, mammals, and other reptiles. A good part of their feeding happens on land.
9. Chinese Alligator (Alligator sinensis)
The Chinese Alligator, also called the Yangtze alligator, is a small type of crocodile native to Northeastern China. This species of crocodile likes to swim in slow-moving freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, streams, swamps, and ponds.
The Chinese Alligators are characterized by a robust head, slightly upturned snouts, and osteoderms or bony belly plate. They have a well-built body with black or dark gray color its entire body, and grow to about 5 – 7 feet (1.5 -2.1 meters) in size and 50- 85 pounds (23-38.5kg) in weight.
The Chinese alligator is known as the most endangered crocodile species due to habitat loss and fragmentation. They are soon to become extinct if no extreme actions are taken. Like the typical crocodiles, this species is an opportunistic feeder. It majorly takes on prey such as fish, snails, rats, insects, and crustaceans.
10. New Guinea (Crocodylus novaeguineae)
The New Guinea crocodile is a freshwater crocodile seen only in Papua New Guinea and in the Papua Province of Indonesia. They are freshwater crocodiles based in inland freshwater lakes, swamps, marshes, and rivers. The New Guinea crocodile comes in a gray to the brown colored body, with darker bandings on the tail and body which become less obvious as the animal matures.
Their nose is pointed and fairly thin during youthful stages and turns wider as the animal grows. The longitudinal mounds in front of the eyes and some coarse scales on the rear of the neck between four big scales are other unique features of this species. The length of an average New Guinea crocodile is about 8.9 feet-11 feet (2.7-3.3m) and can weigh up to 295kg (650lbs).
The New Guinea crocodile Feeds largely at night on fishes, waterbirds (rails and grebes), and different vertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles. Its young ones feed on aquatic invertebrates and insects. They are also on the list of critically endangered, but regulations have been put in place to ensure that the population of these species of crocodile populations stay at decent levels.
11. American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)
The American crocodile is a big saltwater crocodile indigenous to the coastal regions of North, Central, and South America and Caribbean areas. They have an average length ranging from 9 to 13 ft in (2.7-3.9m) males and 8 to 9 ft (2.4-2.7m) in females. On the weight side, American crocodile males weigh between 400 to 500 kg (882-1102 lb) and females weigh about 170 kg (380 lb).
The American Crocodile comes in a large lizard-shaped body with a scaly skin covering, four powerful short legs, and a long powerful tail. They possess a flat and triangular-shaped head, and on the topmost part of this head is located their eyes and nostrils, such that they can still breathe, even their body can be submerged underwater in case of surprise attacks on their prey.
They also possess extended snouts, a strong pair of jaws, and sharp teeth. Young American crocodile species generally feed on snails, small fish, insects, and crustaceans, while adults will take on mammals, snakes, turtles, fish, and crabs.
12. Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius)
The Orinoco crocodile is also a crocodilian reptile that lives in the freshwater region, and is found in northern South America, particularly Columbia and Venezuela, about the Orinoco river. They are mid-sized crocodile species with length measurements ranging from 3 to 4.8m (9-15 ft), and a weight between 200 – 370 kg (440-815 lbs). Their males usually grow more and weigh more than their females.
The Orinoco crocodiles are generally characterized by their somewhat long snout, and they have a yellow hide. Their nostrils are located at the end of the snout, allowing for easy breathing even when they are submerged in water. Their legs are usually short and strong; also, they possess long and powerful tails.
They are also on the list of critically endangered species, put at risk due to the hunting activities of residents of the surrounding area. It is believed that this crocodile species feeds on fish, insects, crabs, and snails but nothing changes the fact that they are opportunistic and feed on animals staying within their range.
13. Hall’s New Guinea Crocodile (Crocodylus halli)
Hall’s New Guinea Crocodile is a medium-sized endemic species of crocodile native to the island of New Guinea. The entire species native to Guinea were thought to be the same until recently when a study initiated by Philip M. Hall, a researcher from the University of Florida proved them to be different. The species was named in honor of this scientist.
This new species was particularly found in rivers, swamps, and lakes in the southern area of the island. A notable difference between this new species and the former is in the shape of their snout. Hall’s New Guinea Crocodiles have a wider and shorter snout.
It was also observed that the Hall’s New Guinea Crocodile nested at a different time of the year; their clutch of eggs were smaller than their north side counterpart. They feed on a variety of both vertebrates and invertebrates such as insects, fishes, waterbirds, amphibians and other reptiles.
14. Central African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops leptorhynchus)
The Central African slender-snouted Crocodile is one of the newest crocodile species discovered and is usually seen in countries located in Central Africa. This species used to be thought to be one with their West African relatives, until recently.
It was recently discovered the slender-snouted Crocodile in Central Africa were distinct from those in West Africa, even though they looked quite similar. The Central African slender-snouted Crocodiles have a narrow-snouted body and they are found in freshwater habitats in Central Africa.
Unlike their very close West African relatives, they have a smoother and softer appearance as can be seen in their scale and skin. Also, this Central African species does not have a bony crest on the skull. They typically feed on fish, crustaceans, and amphibians. As they grow to be adults, they occasionally prey on larger animals such as turtles, birds, aquatic snakes, and small mammals.
15. Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii)
The Morelet’s Crocodiles are also known by the various names such as: Alligator, swamp crocodile, brown crocodile, or an Agarei, and are relatively small. This is a freshwater crocodile found in the Atlantic region of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.
The Morelet’s Crocodiles live mostly in freshwater regions such as swamps, forested riparian habitats, and marshes. However, in recent times, these crocodiles have been sighted in coastal brackish water. They are characterized by a broad snout and a greyish brown coloration with dark spots and bands on their entire bodies.
This species of crocodiles are generally timid and shy and avoid humans as much as possible. However, the larger ones can be quite harmful to humans. They are highly opportunistic and will eat any small animal that crosses their territory, including cats, small mammals, reptiles, and birds. Sometimes, they go as far as cannibalizing their species.
16. West African Crocodile (Crocodylus suchus)
Just as the name implies, this crocodile species is found majorly in West African countries. However, this creature is one that without a doubt has a lot of twists attached to it. Just like other crocodile species, they are covered by hard, plate-like scales across their back which are colored olive or brown with dark bands present on the back.
Interestingly, one very distinct feature of these species is the dark band that is always found across their shoulder. Additionally, these species are usually found in wetlands and lagoons in forested areas, swamps as well as brackish water.
As a matter of fact, these predators feed on a wide range of animals which majorly includes mammals, reptiles, fish as well as birds. Oh! There’s also one very important feature of this species. Unlike other crocodiles, they can live up to 45 years and are usually tagged top predators owing to their fast striking ability.
17. Freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni)
The freshwater crocodile is also known as the Australian freshwater crocodile and is a medium-sized species of crocodile native to the Northern area of Australia. It is obvious from the name that this species of Crocodile prefers freshwater rivers, pools, creeks, and lakes. Although they can survive on saltwater, they are natural dwellers of upstream water.
The freshwater crocodiles are distinguished by a narrow jaw, with fine sharp teeth and nostrils and eyes that sit nicely at the top of the head. They have grey, tan-brown, and sometimes dark patches on the side and top of the body.
This species of crocodile is shy and rarely attacks humans. Even when they do attack, it is rather to defend territories and protect their young ones. The typical diet for Freshwater Crocodiles is various vertebrate and invertebrate prey, such as insects, fishes, spiders, frogs, and snakes.
18. Borneo crocodile (Crocodylus raninus)
The Borneo crocodile is a saltwater crocodile majorly found towards the brackish wetlands in India to as far as Southern Asia. Many refer to them as the estuarine crocodile or marine crocodile while others take them as just sea crocodiles. Borneo crocodile is among the most endangered crocodile species by mankind for the possible byproducts it can produce such from its skin.
An average Borneo crocodile measures up to 6 meters (19 ft) in length and weighs between 1000 kg to 1200 kg (220-265 lbs) Bear in mind that the female is about 20% smaller compared to the males.
The primary diet for Borneo crocodiles are frogs, snakes, and fish; and as they grow older, they take on more varieties of prey ranging from small water buffalos, mouse deer, water birds, other reptiles, and even humans. They practically can almost devour all that comes their way. This makes them highly offensive and dangerous.
19. The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)
The Nile crocodile is another popular species of crocodile which lives in freshwater habitats across the sub-Saharan region along the central, southern, and eastern parts of the African continent. The Nile is the largest species of crocodiles in Africa.
Nile crocodile is reportedly the most dangerous crocodile and has earned a reputation of oftentimes attacking humans. Their body build and structure speak a lot of their tenacity and strength. They possess a long muscular tail and four strong legs, with a rough scaled hide. The average length of a Nile crocodile measures around 2.94 meters (9 ft) and could grow further up to about 4.5 meters (14 ft) for the males.
Even though they can also be found in saltwater and seldom dwell in brackish lakes and deltas, the survival rate of this reptile is considerably high with the freshwater habitat. The Nile crocodile feeds on virtually anything and everything it crosses the path, whether big or small. However, its primary diet is fish.
20. American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
American alligators are large crocodiles native to the coastal wetlands of the United States Southeast, and extend range to North Carolina, southern Florida, and eastern Texas. This species of crocodiles measure up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) in length and up to 1,000 (450 Kg) in weight. They are typically found in slow-moving freshwater rivers, swamps, lakes, and marshes.
American alligators come in lizard-like bodies, with dermal bony plate scales known as scutes. The color of their skin varies between juveniles and adults. Adults have a dark coloration with a lighter underside, while juveniles are distinguished by their light colored scribes. They possess long muscular tails, which helps in their propulsion through water, similar to what webbed feet does.
The American alligators also possess sharp teeth and powerful jaws, an adaptation that helps take on any chosen prey. Their main choice of prey includes fish, birds, invertebrates, mammals, and frogs.
21. Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)
Here comes the world’s largest living reptile – Saltwater crocodile. They are also the most aggressive extant crocodile species of all time and their range extends between South-east Asia, eastern India and northern Australia.
Although this crocodile species goes by the name saltwater, their primary habitat is freshwater brackish swamps, estuaries, and rivers. However, they are also able to survive in salt water, spending days or even weeks in swimming and drifting several kilometers and possibly to prey en route.
Saltwater crocodiles in their Juvenile stage are pale yellow with stripes on their entire bodies and spots of black. On reaching maturity, this coloration tends towards variants such as darker green, pale and almost black, with undersides of white or yellow. The average length of a Saltwater crocodile male is 5 meters (16.4 ft) with a weight of about 500kg (1,102 lbs), and their female counterparts measure under 3 meters (9 ft) and weigh below 100kg (220 lbs). There have been cases of some attaining about 7 meters (22 ft).
Thanks to their powerful jaw muscles, they are known to have the strongest bite force any animal can have. A typical adult Saltwater crocodile feeds on pretty much any animal that steps into its territory, from fish to birds, humans and even sharks. Even juveniles of this crocodile species can take on relatively large prey.
22. Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris)
The mugger crocodile, also known as mugger and marsh crocodile is a medium-sized broad-snouted crocodile and is native to freshwater habitats of southern Iran to the Indian subcontinent. It is usually found inhabiting freshwater habitats such as marshes, rivers, lakes, artificial ponds, and streams. This species of crocodile generally likes shallow water not more than 5 m (16 ft) deep, with a stagnant or slow-moving current.
The average length of mugger crocodiles is about 5 meters (16 ft) and the weight of about 700kg (1,543 lbs). They are characterized by their wide flat snouts, a large head with nostrils, ears, and eyes located on the top, muddy brown colored scales, and enlarged scutes around their neck for protection purposes.
Like any typical crocodile species, their diet will change with age. While juveniles may only take on prey such as fish, crustaceans, and frogs, their adult counterparts will take down large mammals such as deer or buffalo and even their fellow reptiles.
23. Broad-Snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris)
The broad-snouted caiman, also known as the broad-nosed caiman is a medium-sized, crocodile species of the caiman family, generally found in densely vegetated, quiet freshwater and brackish waters such as marsh, swamp, and mangrove. They are native to central and eastern South America, including areas of northern Argentina, southeastern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
As suggested by their name, their most notable characteristics of their appearance are the extremely short and wide snouts; the width of snout at the eyes is almost the size of its length. Adults are colored between pale olive green and nearly black, while juveniles are brownish olive, with dark blemishes on the head and lower jaw sides, and dark stripes on the back.
Also, an adult broad-snouted caiman measures up to 3 meters in length (9.8 feet); however, most males rarely grow beyond the 2 meters (6.5 feet) mark. For females, these values are usually smaller.
They possess powerful jaws which are well suited for taking on and crushing the carapaces or shells of their prey. The primary prey for an adult Broad-Snouted Caiman is fish, amphibians, crabs, turtles, mammals, and snakes. Juveniles on the other hand feed on small fish, snails, and shrimp. The greatest threat to the existence of this species is their habitat destruction.
24. Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)
The spectacled caiman is also known as the white caiman or common caiman and is a crocodilian reptile native to the Central and South American regions. This reptile is found in a range of freshwater marshy wetlands, and riverine habitats such as rivers, grasslands, shrublands, and forests.
Contrary to the general negative reputation of crocodiles, this species of crocodiles aren’t especially harmful to humans. They are less confrontational and avoid humans. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of this reptile, and in fact where it gets its name from, is the bony ridge between the eyes, resembling a pair of spectacles. The spectacled caiman are also known for their elongated jaws, long powerful tail, and short legs.
These caiman crocodiles generally come in a light tan to yellow or brown color, with dark crossbands on their bodies and tails, cream to white color on their belly, and eyes of gold. Bear in mind that younger spectacled caimans will be lighter, with more distinct crossbands. They also possess a heavily armored dark olive or black back, and delicately bony plates on the sides.
The typical length of this reptile is between 1.5 to 2.5 meters (4 to 8 ft) and will weigh about 65 kg (143 lbs). Female caimans are usually smaller. As Juveniles, their primary diet is insects and crustaceans, but as they become adults, they begin to consume fish, birds, mammals, and amphibians.
25. Yacare Caiman (Caiman yacare)
The yacare caiman is a medium-sized species of crocodile native to central South America, and their range extends between countries of central/southwest Brazil, northeastern Argentina, eastern Bolivia, southeastern Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay. They are generally found in slow-moving, Freshwater and Saltwater such as rivers, swamps, lakes, ponds, and marshlands.
They have an appearance similar to that of the spectacled caiman; similar to the caiman family of crocodiles, their scales have well-developed osteoderms or bony belly plate and a heavily armored covering. An adult caiman measures up to 10 feet (3 m) in length, and is colored in brown with pale spots and stripes to help them camouflage.
They possess a long and flat tail which tends to make up about 25% of their whole length and help them to swim and also fend off predators.
As typical carnivores, Yacare caimans feed on a range of vertebrates and invertebrates which include fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals like a capybara.