Caiman Lizard


Caiman Lizard

Caiman Lizards are aquatic and terrestrial.  They have powerful jaws, and use them to crush shelled insects, and then extract the soft parts using their flat, rounded teeth.  Young caiman lizards may be eaten by birds and larger mammals.  The name “caiman” comes from their appearance, which resembles the caiman crocodile of South America. Heavily hunted for the reptile leather trade, hundreds of thousands of these lizards are killed each year for their skin.

The caiman lizard is large, averaging between 2 and 4 feet in length.  Their weight is normally between 3 and 6 pounds.  Caiman Lizards have red-orange heads and green bodies and a laterally flattened tail.  Their heads are very large, and they have movable eyelids.  They are covered with scales, many being heavy and large.

The Caiman Lizard lives in low swamps and flooded forests, often resting on roots or branches hanging over the water.  If disturbed or threatened, the lizard will drop into the water and quickly swim away.  The lizard has a laterally flattened tail that helps it to swim through the water.  The whip like tail is also used for defense, it can deliver a powerful blow to any would be predator.  The Caiman Lizard’s tongue is forked, and is used to enhance its ability to smell and locate prey.

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