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Cayman with a wide nose and unique skin
In total, five types of caimans are known in the modern fauna, combined into two genera - smooth-faced caimans and ordinary caimans. These reptiles are distinguished from real crocodiles by a shortened and wide muzzle, the shape of a jaw bite, some anatomical signs, and. title. All these animals are crocodiles, no matter how they are called, depending on the region of habitat. After all, the cayman in Spanish means "crocodile", "alligator." Well, species differences exist between all reptiles of a small detachment of crocodiles.
The scientific description of the wide-faced caiman was compiled in 1802 by the French zoologist Francois-Marie Doden, who assigned the reptiles a binomial name Caiman latirostris. The prefix bean "latirostris" literally means "wide nose", which is associated with the shape of the head of a crocodile.
This reptile is sometimes called the wide-nosed or Brazilian cayman. Among the small-town names of this crocodile can be noted such: Broad-snouted Caiman, Brazilian caiman, Yacare Overo, Ururan, Jacare de Papo Amarelo, Jacare Verde, Jacare de Hocico, Ancho, Tinga.
There is an opinion among zoologists that caimans living in Argentina should be distinguished as a separate subspecies (Caiman latirostris chachacoensis), but it did not receive wide support.
A wide-mouthed cayman lives in southeastern Brazil, in Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and northern Argentina, i.e., is a resident of the central and eastern regions of South America. Within the range, it settles in swamps and mangroves, as well as other freshwater reservoirs, avoiding too deep pools and fast waters. It also dislikes brackish water, although it can be in it for some time.
The range of the wide-ranging caiman intersects the range of the Paraguayan cayman (Caiman yacare), but in the same places these reptiles do not settle, therefore interspecific conflicts are rare.
The Brazilian (wide-mouthed) caiman belongs to small representatives of the crocodile order - in the wild, males rarely grow longer than 2.5 meters, however, there is information about the capture of individuals up to 3.5 meters long. The average weight of an adult male can reach 60 kg.
Females are noticeably smaller than males and only in exceptional cases grow longer than two meters.
Appearance is characterized by a very wide muzzle (wider than that of the American alligator). The width of the upper jaw in front of the eyes may exceed its length.
Another external distinguishing feature of wide-mouthed caimans is a series of bony scaly scales located along the muzzle, forming a small tubercle in front of the orbits. Four large flaps stand out on the back of the head, arranged in a row across the neck. The back, sides and belly, like all crocodiles, are covered with keratinized skin plates.
The total number of teeth on the jaws is 68-78.
The body color of adult animals is usually light olive green, but there are individuals painted in brown and even black. These caimans often live in relatively cool places, and are easier to tolerate temperature fluctuations than related species of crocodiles. It is believed that dark-skinned individuals are able to more effectively "absorb" the sun's rays for heating.
Like all crocodile, wide-mouthed caimans are able to pronounce sounds, the tone of which is lower, the older the animal. Most often, these sounds resemble hissing, roaring or barking, sometimes growling.
The skin of wide-mouthed caimans is highly valued for its softness, and is considered one of the highest quality crocodile skins. As you know, this fact has served the animals a black service, attracting numerous hunters and poachers.
As a result of extermination in the past century, wide-mouthed Brazilian caimans in the wild are now quite rare. They are easier to see on crocodile farms in some countries of South America (Argentina).
At the end of the last century, they were considered an endangered species, but as a result of protective measures taken, populations are gradually recovering. The legislation of countries located within the range limits the prohibition of hunting for these animals, and if these measures are supplemented with concern for the preservation of the habitat, wide-mouthed caimans will not face anything.
The conservation status of these reptiles is currently - Lr - causing the least concern.
According to experts, within the range live up to half a million long-range caimans.
Caymans breed eggs. The female lays eggs (up to 50 pcs.) In a nest built from soil and vegetation during the rainy season - in Brazil this is August-January, in Argentina - January-March.
Nests are usually located on river islands near habitats. After about 70 days, calves weighing about 30 grams hatch from the eggs, which give the mother a squeak, after which the female removes it from the nest and transfers it to water. The age at which puberty is reached is not known reliably, however, it is noted that five-year-old females are usually already able to lay eggs.
The maximum recorded life expectancy of these reptiles in captivity is 22 years.
The haute caiman lifestyle is poorly studied due to the nocturnal lifestyle of these reptiles. Hunting tactics characteristic of other crocodiles - almost completely immersed in water, these predators creep up to prey or watch for it, and capture it with a lightning throw in the jaw.
Observation of the hunting of one of the adult caimans showed that they can simply lie in the water, sitting upstream and opening their mouths. A careless fish or amphibian that has fallen into its mouth is immediately swallowed.
The basis of the diet is water snails, as well as crustaceans, fish, amphibians, as well as rodents and small mammals. Large individuals are able to deal even with the shells of turtles.
The diet of young caimans consists mainly of insects and snails.
There is no information about cases of attacks by these small crocodiles on people. Within the range they are not considered animals dangerous to humans.
The natural enemies of wide-mouthed caimans are various large predators - mammals (jaguars, hyenas), birds, reptiles (anacondas, caimans of other species), as well as egg-laying destroyers.