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The Zoo has 1 male dwarf caiman and 3 of undetermined sex.
The male hatched in 1988 at Albuquerque Biological Park and arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo on June 25, 2002.
The other three dwarf caimans are believed wild caught, with estimated hatch in 2003. These arrived on September 7, 2006 as a donation from US Fish & Wildlife Service, after they had been confiscated.
Three juvenile dwarf caiman reside with a Central American river turtle in the Aquatic Wing of the Reptile and Amphibian House.
Reptile and Amphibian House
This species is the smallest New World crocodilian. Scales covering the entire body are heavily ossified. They have a very smooth and concave head shape that is unique to this species. Head is a chocolate brown and flecked with white bands. Body coloration is dark brown or black.
Life span: 22 yrs in captivity
Highly terrestrial and more active after dark, the dwarf caiman can be found during the day in burrows and will actively hunt at night. This species is also solitary and territorial.
The female caiman builds a nest of mud, twigs, grasses, and leaves and deposits on average about 12 eggs which hatch is approximately 90 days.
Adults can measure 4-5 feet in length.
The heaviest dwarf caiman at the Philadelphia Zoo weighs about 40 lbs.
Dwarf caiman are carnivorous. Although the smallest of all crocodilian, dwarf caiman are very aggressive and have extremely sharp teeth. In the wild, dwarf caiman prey mostly on fish, crustaceans and small rodents. At the Zoo, the caiman are offered a variety of whole prey including fish and small rodents.
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela.
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