June 9, 2017

Spectacled Caimans

 Caimans were the second and smaller crocodilian we saw in Costa Rica, with the males being up to 6ft long and the females being somewhat smaller. Their diet consists of invertebrates and fish with a few pigs thrown in for the larger adults. Like many of their Family, they have mastered the art of patiently floating along and trying to look as much like a log as they can to any short-sighted prey.
 We saw a few baby animals as well as the larger adults. The babies tend to stay closer to the edge of the water and tuck in among the grasses. The young are interesting in that the temperature of their nest will determine their gender upon hatching, with warmer temperatures producing females and lower temperatures producing males. While we (falsely) think of reptiles as laying their eggs and then abandoning them, caiman mothers will not only raise their own young, but are known to cooperatively babysit for one another.
 While not as outright terrifyingly huge as the American crocodiles were, Caimans are still pretty impressive reptiles and pack more than a little dinosaur quality to their appearance. We were never in any danger from these creatures, but there was one night walk where the lodge kept caimans on the grounds and we could hear one consistently moving towards us from the darkness.

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