By Marla Lise
Scientific Name: Caiman crocodilus
This little crocodilian is the most widespread of all the members of the Alligatoridae family, which includes alligators, crocodiles, and of course, caiman. Hailing from South and Central America, the Caiman is highly adaptable and able to live in a variety of habitats. If conditions are bad, the Spectacled Caiman can actually make itself a burrow and rest there until conditions improve.
The spectacled caimans are known for the ridges around their eyes that make it look like they’re wearing a pair of spectacles, which thus gives them their name. These studious-looking reptiles are a dull olive green color as adults; however, when they are juveniles they start off yellow with black spots and bands on their bodies.
These caimans can grow up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) in length. They have 75 long teeth to catch their prey, but swallow their food whole. Hunting at night, they usually feed on crustaceans, mollusks and fish. Although, they have been known to be cannibalistic, at times eating members of their own species.
Caimans have been hunted for their skins and for the illegal pet trade. Despite this, Caiman populations are still doing well and they are considered under least concern on the IUCN list of endangered species. Surprisingly the Spectacled Caimans are being blamed for the depletion of other species of crocodiles, through competing with them for food and resources.
Blue and Gold Macaw
Grey Winged Trumpeter
Asian black bear
Black-and-white ruffed lemur
Black-faced spider monkey
Brown capuchin monkey
Capybara [2nd profile]
Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat
Plains Zebra not a rainforest species
South American tapir
South American coatimundi
Leatherback Sea Turtle not a rainforest species
Pygmy stump-tailed chameleon
Giant Chinese Salamander
Gladiator Tree Frog
Green Poison Arrow Frog
Indian Purple Frog
All about Rainforests
May I use graphics from mongabay.com for my projects?
Yes, you may provided that you don't remove the mongabay label from the images. You may use information from the site for class projects and can cite kids.mongabay.com as the source.
Can I interview the founder of mongabay.com for my school project?
Unfortunately due to the large number of requests and the need to work on the main mongabay.com site, Rhett (the person who runs mongabay.com) is not available for interviews. However he has answered some common questions on the Rainforest Interview page.
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Currently there are a few on the resources page. There may be more in the future.
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Take a look at the Interviews with rainforest experts page.
How can I help save rainforests?
Some ideas are listed on the Rainforest Solutions page.
Where can I learn more about rainforests?
There is a wealth of information at the main rainforest site
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