Spectacled Caiman Crocodilian
Facts about Spectacled Caiman. Scientific name for Spectacled Caiman is Caiman crocodilus. Spectacled Caiman crocodilian is the most common of all crocodilian species and is also known as the common caiman or the white caiman. The crocodilian species common name originates from the bony ridge between its eyes, giving it the appearance of a pair of spectacles. The Spectacled Caiman is a crocodilian reptile which is native to south and Central America. The Spectacled Caiman inhabits various wetlands, riverine and lowland habitats. It can be able to tolerate both fresh and salt water due to its adaptability.
The spectacled caiman is usually a small to mid-sized type of species with the males growing to lengths of about six to seven feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) and the female species being smaller in size, usually attaining lengths of approximately four to five feet (1.21 to 1.52 meters). The weight of a matured adult Spectacled Caiman crocodilian can reach up to forty kilograms (88 lbs). The maximum extant size of the species is approximately eight feet (2.43 meters) with weights of about 128 pounds (58 kg). The largest size which can be attained by the female Spectacled Caiman is about five feet (1.5 meters) and can weigh up to twenty kilograms (44 lbs). Some of the crocodilian species found in the Venezuelan llanos have larger body sizes than similar species inhabiting parts of Mexico.
The overall body coloration of a naturally extant caiman crocodilian is gray-green. However, the species can change color. Its ability to change color is usually seen during cold weather conditions in which the black pigment located within their skin cells expands to produce a darker coloration.
The spectacled caiman can attain sexual maturity at the age of about four to seven with the more dominant individuals maturing more rapidly. The species usually gather to mate during the dry seasons and after mating, the female Spectacled Caiman appears to build nests from the materials obtained out of dense vegetation. This is usually during the wet seasons as it is rare to observe the crocodilian species to nest during winter months since the temperatures can be extremely low for the eggs. It is important to observe that the size of the nests varies depending on the resources the female Spectacled Caiman crocodilian can obtain. Individual females can lay a maximum of forty eggs. However, the sizes of the eggs vary with the type of the female species. Usually, larger-sized female Spectacled Caiman crocodilian lay larger eggs than the smaller female breeds.
In order for the eggs to develop they require certain temperature ranges. The females will ensure that suitable temperatures are met by creating nest in a manner to insulate the eggs from extreme temperature changes. The nests can maintain the eggs at five degrees Celsius warmer compared to the amount of insulation achieved by mud alone. The heat can also be used to determine the sex of the growing juvenile Caiman crocodilian species.
It is important to note that, maintaining temperatures at thirty one degrees Celsius (87 fahr) can lead to the development of a male Spectacled Caiman species while temperature ranges of thirty two degrees Celsius (90 fahr) and above produces the female species. However, both sexes of the juveniles do not hatch with the dark green coloration seen in the adults. The Spectacled Caiman usually have a yellow coloration with black spots which fades out with time.
The spectacled Caimans can feed on a variety of invertebrates like crustaceans, mollusks and insects, water snails and fish.