Yacare caiman are also known as the piranha caiman, owing to its habit of eating piranhas, they also eat aquatic snails, snakes and other fish. Yacare caiman construct mound nests into which the females lay their eggs during the rainy season.
Scientific name: Caiman yacare
Clever caiman make the most of an opportunity as wood stork chicks fledge.
The giant waterworld of the Pantanal's impenetrable swamps has largely been ignored by wildlife filmmakers. Extensive research through local experts uncovered this location, a breeding roost favoured by spoonbills and woodstorks. The resident caiman have learned that by waiting around at the base of the roost at fledging time there's a good chance of grabbing an unwary chick.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the Yacare 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
Year assessed: 1996
Classified by: IUCN 2.3
The Yacare caiman (Caiman yacare, jacaré in Portuguese) is a species of caiman found in central South America, including northeastern Argentina, Uruguay, southeastern Peru, eastern Bolivia, central/south-west Brazil, and the rivers of Paraguay. Approximately 10 million individual Yacare Caiman exist within the Brazilian Pantanal, representing what is quite possibly the largest single crocodilian population on Earth. As a medium-small sized crocodilian, most adult male individuals grow to roughly 2 or 2.5 m (6.6 or 8.20 ft) in length, with the occasional 3 m (9.8 ft) individual (there are reports of occasional 4 m (13 ft) individuals within the Pantanal, but this is yet to be verified). Females are rather smaller at an average of 1.4 m (4.6 ft). Body mass in this species can range up to 58 kg (128 lb) in males and from 14 to 23 kg (31 to 51 lb) in females. Their relatively smaller size makes them a potential prey of the jaguar and anaconda. This species diet consists primarily of fish (especially piranha) and birds, with the occasional capybara being taken by larger adults. In general, due to their small size, this species of caiman is not considered as a fatally dangerous species to humans.
Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.