A spectacled caiman's head in close-up

Spectacled caiman

A mother's love is priceless and spectacled caiman mums go to extraordinary lengths to look after their own young and those of their neighbours. At the first sign of danger, baby caimans swarm on to the mother's back for protection. She'll carry or lead them all to safety, making sure none of the babies get left behind. Such maternal dedication might seem at odds with reptile reputation, but while David Attenborough's Life in Cold Blood clip follows this softer side, Steve Backshall's experience while filming for Deadly 60 shows these usually quite harmless crocodiles conforming to stereotype.

Scientific name: Caiman crocodilus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common caiman,
  • White caiman

Watch video clips from past programmes (2 clips)

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


The Spectacled caiman can be found in a number of locations including: Amazon Rainforest, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


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

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 1996

Classified by: IUCN 2.3

BBC News about Spectacled caiman

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Baby Animals Baby Animals

    With Ooh's and Ahh's galore this video clip collection celebrates a world of adorable animal babies.