Spectacled Caiman

(Caiman crocodilus)


Spectacled Caiman IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The Spectacled Caiman has a comparatively long snout, about 1.2 to 1.5 times as long as broad at the level of the front corners of the eyes. There is a bony ridge between the front corners of the eyes across the basis of the snout, similar to a bridge of spectacles. It has also some indistinct longitudinal ridges in front of the eyes, diverging toward the tip of the snout. The colour of the upper body surface shows varying shades of brownish olive; young animals have dark crossbars on the flanks and on the tail, fading in the course of growth. The lower surface is uniformly light, without dark blotches. The iris is greenish. The length is up to 2.7 m, but usually about 1.7 to 2 m.

Did you know?
As part of the conservation strategy for the species in Colombia (where is considered threatened) the Cayman crocodrilus is raised in commercial farms?


Name (Scientific) Caiman crocodilus
Name (English) Spectacled Caiman
Name (French) Caiman à lunettes
Name (German) Krokodilkaiman
Name (Spanish) Caimán de anteojos
Local names Brasil: Jacaré-tinga, Jacaré-branco
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Robert Lawton



Range Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, introduced: Cuba, Puerto Rico, United States
Habitat Lowland wetland and riverine habitats
Wild population Over 1,000,000 in 2009 (Crocodilian, 2012). Due to its adaptability it lives also in small water bodies near human settlements and in agricultural land. Today this species (in particular the subspecies Caiman c. crocodilus, C. c. fuscus) is farmed, ranched and natural populations are well managed, which has greatly contributed to conservation. It is - as a species - not threatened anymore with the exception of the subspecies Caiman. c. apaporiensis with its very limited area of distribution in Colombia.
Zoo population 168 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Spectacled Caiman


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 42 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Zoo Basel

Why do zoos keep this animal

The spectacled caiman is currently not threatened with extinction and zoos keep the species primarily for educational purposes and as an ambassador species for their threatened freshwater habitats. As a "keystone-species" for these threatened habitats, C. crocodilus - a social crocodilian with limited size - is also suitable for smaller zoos with limited budget and space. It can also be shown in "mixed-species-exhibits".