Common Name: Black Caiman
Scientific Name: Melanosuchus niger
Species: M. niger
Most average black caiman adults grow up to 3 to 4.26 meters or in other mathematical terms 10 to 14 feet, but the average older male will rarely grow bigger than 5 meters or 16.5 feet. Their babies are 5feet wide and 2.6feet high. Their size makes them the largest in the family alligatoridae and one of the largest predators.
The animals name describes its color, black and if not black it is but a dark coloration similar to black with light brown blotches on their heads. The younger ones have yellow, green, or white spots on their heads but still black. Its color helps the black caiman camouflage during its nocturnal hunt while during the day it helps absorb the heat. This crocodilian has yellow or grey markings across its lower jaw line and or the flanks of their body that fades the more it ages or matures. In between its eyes is a bony ridge that goes as far as either sides of the snout. The snout being narrow and large red eyes. They also have thick skin with scales and spines. Overall the general appearance is similar to the American alligator.
The most common places you would find these crocodilians are in fresh water areas such as slow moving rivers, streams, lakes, flooded savannas and wetlands. Extends east of the Andes to the Atlantic, and north of the Brazilian Pantanal to southern Venezuela. Those ranges are overlapping with a different caiman but have different ecological niches. But favors areas along river banks with steep sides among entangled roots and branches. The black caiman also inhabits the Amazon basin including northern and central South America.
This animal seeks undisturbed areas because of hunters. The population of the black caiman may be at the top of the food chain but due to the fact that they are being hunted for food and leather 98%of its population has been destroyed. The hunters have made it rare for a caimans range to overlap. This species is now considered on the charts as extinct but not fully yet with just a few to spare. Out of the overall there is a small variance. They don’t have a chance of surviving for very long.
Since it is the top of the food chain what does it eat? These are carnivorous Reptiles meaning their diet contains mostly meat weather this meat is dead or alive this animal is not picky .The black caiman eats fish such as piranhas , and catfish they also eat birds, turtles ,capybara ,and deer. They are nocturnal hunters meaning they hunt at night . Since they have such an extreme biting power they use their teeth rather to grab than to Rip apart . They use their sharp teeth to drown their prey then swallow them whole. They do attack people because we are meat. People are not attacked as often because of the small population of these animals. During most of the dry seasons is when most eggs are hatched. These animals lay about 30 to 60 eggs per batch. Nests are mostly found in open areas. The mothers most of the time stick close to the nests . Hatching occurs usually between 42 to 90 days. With so many eggs laid and hatching in around the same time there is a risk.
Photo Credit 04:44, 16 November 2004 . . Quadell (Talk | contribs) . . 2993×2000 (598,170 bytes) (Photo by Jason L. Buberal [http://buberel.org/gallery/ source] cc-by-sa)