About This Animal
SIZE: 48 in (122 cm)
RANGE: Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Peru
HABITAT: Swamps and forests near water
DIET: Fish, snails and insects
ON EXHIBIT: Rivers of the World in River Journey
Caiman lizards spend most of the day sleeping on branches that overhang water. If threatened, they dive into the water and hide near the bottom until the danger no longer exists. Caiman lizards love to eat snails and have modified teeth that allow them to crack the shell and remove the soft parts of the snail.
Heavily hunted for the reptile leather trade, hundreds of thousands of these lizards are killed each year for their skin.