Those who are afraid of large reptiles, like alligators and crocodiles, will be hard pressed to get a dwarf caiman as a pet. But maybe they will change their opinion after reading the text below as these small versions of alligators can be quite friendly and somewhat harmless. It can only happen if they are able to remove the terrifying images of horror films from their mind. Here is a brief encounter with the dwarf caiman pet, to help you change your mind.
Where can you find the Dwarf Caiman?
The dwarf caiman is a small alligator species. When we think of alligators and crocodiles, we automatically imagine them longer than 20 feet and weighing a ton, but some of them never grow big, reaching less than three or four feet and weighing only a few kilograms. That is the case with the pet caiman, the smallest crocodile in the world. It lives in many different countries in Central and South America, including Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela. It is usually found in areas with you there are lakes and rivers, inside forested areas.
The dwarf caiman obviously needs large water beds where they can swim, which they do at night, hunting for their prey. They love the wooden areas, so they can hide while they are sunbathing, which they absolutely need to do during the day, to accumulate heat, since they are cold-blooded animal. If you were to navigate waters where you can find a caiman alligator pet, during the day, you would see them, here and there, eyes closed, on river banks or in very shallow water.
Technical Information about this Small Alligator Species
The dwarf caiman is considered to be the smallest crocodilian known to man today. Its scientific name is Paleosuchus palpebrosus, but it is also known as Cuvier’s Caiman. Georges Cuvier is the French zoologist who identified the species back in 1807. The dwarf caiman remains small all their lives, especially compared to other crocodilians. A male will reach about 1.4M long while the female will not grow over 1.2M. They both weigh less than 7kg, when they reach adulthood.
The Story of the Caiman Pet
The dwarf caiman has not always been thought of as a pet you could keep home. They started to become popular as such, only after 2012, when a TV show provided them a lot of visibility. The man hosting the show was called Shaun Fogget. Today, he still owns the only crocodile and alligator zoo in Britain.
Eight years ago, Foggett managed to breed 24 dwarf caimans on TV. The first thing he did was to feed vitamins to the parents, in order to make them grow stronger. Once the mother laid her eggs in the sand, he removed them and placed them in a controlled environment at 30 degrees, for three months. When they hatched, he fed them whatever they needed, starting with locusts and crickets (insects), before moving on to dead rodents and chicken, when they got large enough to eat them.
Fogget fell in love with crocodilians very early in his life. At age 15, he started keeping his first ones in his house. The more he learned, the larger his passion grew for them. He ended-up selling his house to build a zoo where he could keep them legally inside the UK, and care for them. The TV series which made the dwarf caimans popular was called “Croc Man.” Its success was immediate. In fact, the last episode of the series attracted over one million viewers. This wildlife documentary is still one of the most important in the UK.
The Dwarf Caiman: Small but still Strong
Although the dwarf caiman can be the perfect pet, you should not be fooled into thinking that its small size is indicative of any weaknesses. In fact, it is built just like any other crocodilian, only on a smaller scale. It still possesses the dermal scale body armour, on top of a strong bone structure. The thickness of this skin protects it against attack from other animals, but also from humans. Although being smaller, bullets and sharpened edges will cut through his skin, which is why we are a threat to them.
But hunting is not the only way we place these animals in danger. The pollution we create and the various mining projects that go on around their environments are factors that reduce their population every year. We are slowly destroying their natural habitat, and that is becoming catastrophic for them, but also for many other species living around these areas. Hopefully, programs like the one created by Shaun Foggett will grow in numbers, so we can keep the species alive and well for many years to come.
If this article made you want to adopt a dwarf caiman pet, we suggest you read more on the subject to familiarize yourself with this reptile. Bringing an animal into your life is a great gesture, but one that you should be sure of before you adopt, so that you don’t change your mind later on.
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