Rio Cauca Caecilian

(Typhlonectes natans)


Rio Cauca Caecilian IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

They grow to 45 to 55 cm in length. They are dark grey- black in color. While T. natans can and occasionally does breath air at the surface, most of the respiration takes place through its skin.

The species is oviviparous, giving birth to young in water. The gestation period lasts app. 220 days. 3-7 live, fully developed young are born, which after only one year reach almost half the size of an adult (25 cm).

Did you know?
They are members of an ancient family of amphibians. These unique animals went underground long before the dinosaurs appeared (all caecilians are constructed for digging). They are nearly blind and find their food by taste and smell.


Name (Scientific) Typhlonectes natans
Name (English) Rio Cauca Caecilian
Name (French) Cecilie aquatique
Name (German) Schwimmw├╝hle
Name (Spanish) Culebra ciega
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Samuel Furrer



Range Colombia, Venezuela
Habitat Aquatic species, living in rivers, marshes and lakes, usually in open areas, and is only rarely found on land.
Wild population No data, but is very common.The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012)
Zoo population 138 reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Rio Cauca Caecilian


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Samuel Furrer

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Rio Cauca caecilian is kept for educational purposes to show a representative of the rather unfamiliar order GYMNOPHIONA.