Spectacled caiman on river bank


There's little doubt that the caiman has some of the most adorable young of any animal. Caimans are nowhere near the largest of the alligator family, but what they lack in size they make up for in number, as they are common and widespread in South and Central America. The spectacled caiman is the most numerous and, alas, the most heavily hunted. Left alone, caimans are pretty harmless, just don't hassle one or you might be in for a nasty nip. Explore some of the three living species of caiman further below.

Scientific name: Caiman

Rank: Genus

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


Map showing the distribution of the Caiman taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.


The following habitats are found across the Caiman distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web