The black caiman is the
largest caiman and also the largest predator in the Amazon basin. What makes them unusual is that they don’t lose their
Most crocodilian hatchlings have markings that help them blend into their
surroundings. American alligator hatchlings have yellow stripes to help them
hide in grasses along the shore. These stripes fade over time. But the markings
on black caimans do not fade.
Unfortunately, this relatively vibrant coloration has caused pressure for the species as their hide is highly prized in the skin
trade. They eat fish, (including piranha and catfish) and birds, turtles, and land-dwelling animals like capybara and deer when they come to the waters edge to drink.
Larger caimans can take tapirs and anacondas. Their teeth are designed to grab
but not rip, so they swallow their food whole after drowning it.