Broad-snouted Caiman

(Caiman latirostris)


Broad-snouted Caiman IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The broad-snouted Caiman has an extremely short snout, nearly 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. The colour of the upper surface in young animals is brownish olive and with dark crossbars; the head and the sides of the lower jaw with dark blotches. Old animals are nearly blackish. The lower surface is uniformly light, without dark blotches. It can grow up to a length of 3 m, but it is usually about 2 m.

Did you know?
that female broad-snouted caimans have been observed opening the nest during hatching and assisting the neonates to the water, where they will be guarded for an indeterminate period by either one or both parents?


Name (Scientific) Caiman latirostris
Name (English) Broad-snouted Caiman
Name (French) Caimán à museau élargi
Name (German) Breitschnauzenkaiman
Name (Spanish) Yacaré de hocico ancho, Yacaré overo
Local names Brasil: Jacaré-do-papo-amarelo
CITES Status Appendix I, except for those listed in Appendix II (Population of Argentina)
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Juan Sebastián Villalba-Macías



Range Argentina , Bolivia , Brazil , Paraguay , Uruguay
Habitat Mangroves, marshes and swamps
Wild population Approx.:250,000 to 500,000 in 2009(Crocodilian, 2012), widespread. Although protection for the species has increased, it still faces the major threat of habitat destruction - deforestation pressures (e.g. hydroelectric projects, draining of vast areas for agriculture). Pollution entering waterways from developing cities is also contributing to habitat degradation. Commercial hunting in the middle of the century has taken its toll on wild populations. Illegal hunting still persists, but is not now considered to be a threat to the species because caimans are harder to find, making hunting less attractive and more costly when traders can obtain better quality legal skins of higher quality. Presently, legal protection for the species is in force, but is often difficult to implement. Present survey data reveal that in most areas significant areas of original habitat still remain and support healthy populations. Sustainable yield programs are in progress, in addition to the restocking of some depleted areas. Although it contains some osteoderms, the skin is more suitable for tanning purposes, and hence is of greater value than that of other caiman species. The successful initial results of the experimental ranching program carried out in Santa Fe, Argentina are demonstrating the great potential for the establishment of sustainable programs for the conservation and management of this species. At the 14th CoP of CITES the Brazilian population was downlisted also to Appendix II for ranching purposes. A second generation (F2) has been obtained in captivity at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil.
Zoo population 81 reported to ISIS (2005)

In the Zoo

Broad-snouted 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
Juan Sebastián Villalba-Macías

Why do zoos keep this animal

The broad-snouted 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. Due to its moderate size and the attractive appearance the species is very suited to represent as a keystone species the wet habitats of its south American range.