You are hereSpectacled Caiman, Caiman crocodilus

Spectacled Caiman, Caiman crocodilus

Introduction The Spectacled Caiman is a moderate sized crocodilian, averaging an adult size of 7 ft. It is distributed throughout Latin America. it is farmed and captive bred and hatched to supply to supply the needs for the pet trade. Reports on their temperament vary. They are regarded as generally shy but aggressive if cornered, frequently fighting with other captive individuals (i.e. very territorial). Others have found that in time they will lose much of their aggressive nature, although they never really become tame. They are being bred in captivity in small numbers.

Acclimation and Quarantine Quarantine and or acclimation enclosures need not be elaborate, instead they should be sterile and easy to clean. Appropriately sized tanks or plastic rubbermaid containers can be used. Water should be filtered and or changed frequently. Be sure to provide a heat source, a pool, and a dry spot. A hide area should be provided for additional security. This setup should be used until the caiman is feeding regularly and appears to be in good health.

Housing While it is more than possible to keep a hatchling Spectacled Caiman in a twenty gallon tank for a short time, it will out grow it with in a year's time. A single adult can be kept in an enclosure with a minimum dry foot print of 10 ft x 8 ft along with a 7 foot diameter stock tank for water, making the enclosure a total of 17 ft long by 8 ft from front to back. Personally, I would cunstruct an enclosure of atleast 100 square feet (10 x 10).

Lighting and Heating You should offer your caiman a photo period of 12/12 to replicate their natural habitat. Day light can be provided using incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or simply natural light if the day-length is long enough. For nocturnal species such as most caiman, it may be beneficial to provide a night-light as well that simulates moonlight. Spectacled Caiman often spend considerable amounts of the daytime basking. Therefore, they should receive UV from a quality UVB light, such as ZooMed's Power Sun. Incandescent lights may also be used as a heat source. They are available in a wide selection of wattages, so the right level of heat for the basking spot can usually be found and then controlled with a thermostat as required. One may also choose to utilize ceramic heat emitters for larger enclosures. They can be used at night without emitting light that would otherwise disrupt the caiman's photoperiod. Aquarium heaters may also be used for evenly heating the water in a smaller to medium-sized enclosure. You should choose a heater that will provide 2-3 watts per gallon. The heater's thermostat should be set to keep the water between 78-82 degrees. If you choose to use a glass heater, be sure it is well protected. If the caiman breaks it, it will be electrocuted.

Feeding Spectacled Caiman will thrive on a diet that is well varied and containing whole food items. Whole food items are animals which have not been prepared, processed, cleaned, gutted etc. but rather are offered to your caiman as they were in life; whole. Readily available whole food items include rodents, poultry, fish, crustaceans, insects. Rodents consist of mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. Poultry may consist of chicks and quail. For the fish you can offer trout, catfish and other freshwater fish as well as the common feeder goldfish. Crawfish, fresh water shrimp and fresh water crabs can be provided as well. And for insects, you may offer crickets, meal and super meal worms, silkworms, horn worms, and roaches.

These animals DO NOT make satisfactory pets Caiman have extremely powerful bites. While the bite of a baby or a juvenile will be painful and unpleasant, in the end mainly your pride will be hurt. Adults are a different story however and are very capable of inflicting serious wounds that may include but are not limited to deep puncture wounds, loss of fingers and nerve and muscle damage. In the event of a serious bite, a trip to the hospital will be in order. Even with a nip, be sure to clean the wound well to prevent any infection from setting in.