Black caiman

Dark colored, largest species of the family Crocodylidae, Black Caimans have their own historical presence in and around the areas of French Guiana and Brazil. Extensively hunted for its skin, the species now is under the category of conserved reptiles and is under surveillance to prevent the species to become extinct. They were formerly located at Amazonian range, but due to constant hunt by the Brazilians for the animal’s tough skin, their population started getting thinner, to the extent of being extinct in that area. Still Black Caimans are present in large numbers in and around Kaw Swamps in French Guiana and on the Rupununi River in Guyana. The irony is that people living in these areas do not consider the importance of reptile on the verge of being extinct. For them the crocodile is a dangerous species living alongside them, which is surely a natural alarm. The Black Caiman is found to hunt the dogs, children and even adults, which create a menace and a lot of hue and cry in the surrounding areas.

Black Caimans are very dark colored. Their color is subject to age and maturity where young Caiman’s have grey colored lower jaws, which gradually turn out to be brown on aging. The yellow or white bands present across the body are more prominent in new born to six months old Caimans, which fade gradually on maturity. Thus Caiman’s skin biological composition changes over a period of time. The shape of skull is a bit different from other Caiman species. Black Caimans have distinct protruding eyes with relatively a narrow snout.

The Black Caiman is an aquatic reptile. It shows it presence in not very deep but shallow fresh water bodies, particularly slow moving rivers and streams. They are also noticed in and around flooded savannah and other marshy and wetlands.

Black Caimans usually hunt during night. They are blessed with extra ordinary sensory organs, be it auditory or visual. They locate and hunt for their prey which usually comprises of fishes, turtles, deer, domestic animals dogs and pigs.

The female black caiman starts breeding during the dry season when water levels fall and fish are easily available in shallow pools, providing an easy and plentiful meal. Caimans build a huge mound nest using dead and fresh vegetable matter, into which eggs are laid. The mother Caiman always be near the nest and provide protection to the eggs till the hatching process begins and is safe for the young black caimans to come out in the water.

Common names

black caiman in English - English
Caimán negro in Spanish - español
Caïman noir in French - français
Jacaré-açu in Portuguese - Português
Lagarto negro in Spanish - español
Mohrenkaiman in German - Deutsch
Suokaimaani in Finnish - suomen kieli
Кайман черный in Russian - русский язык
Црн кајман in Macedonian - македонски јазик
Черен кайман in Bulgarian - български език
קיימן שחור in Hebrew - ‫עברית
クロカイマン in Japanese - 日本語

Picture of Melanosuchus niger has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial.
Original source: Flickr
-Caleb Slemmons -Author: Caleb Slemmons
Permission: Some rights reserved
Order : Crocodylia
Family : Crocodylidae
Genus : Melanosuchus
Species : Melanosuchus niger
Authority : SPIX 1825