Thursday, January 2, 2014

Creature Feature #76: Caiman

Caiman are small to medium sized crocodylians that make their home in Central and South America. There are several extant species. Her diet consists predominently of fish, including pirahna, but the occasional terrestrial vertebrate or large insect is taken and devoured. She can normally be found in mangrove swamps or rivers, lurking and waiting for her prey. When it comes time to breed, she will come ashore and lay between ten to fifty eggs in a nest she has constructed from vegetation. As this vegetation decays, it produces heat and incubates the eggs. The temperature of the eggs determines the gender of the offspring, with females being produced at 32 degrees celsius or higher, and males at lower temperatures. Mothers are very protective and will carry their youngsters down to the water.

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