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Spectacled Caiman Facts | Peruvian Amazon Wildlife Guide

Crocodilians look barely different than their ancestors that roamed the earth during the Mesozoic era. In the Neotropics, caimans and alligators belonging to the alligatorinae subfamily swim in fresh and brackish waters, though some are found in saltwater habitats.

Four species of caimans are found along the Amazon basin: two species of dwarf caimans, black caiman, and white or spectacled caiman.

Once abundant, the populations of spectacled caiman have suffered a severe human impact, mostly hunted for their hard skins and their valued meat. Still numerous in the Pantanal or the Llanos, they are extremely inconspicuous and nocturnal in the Amazon. Their geographical distribution ranges from the south of Mexico to the northern Misiones Province in Argentina.

Spectacled caiman can reach 7–8 feet in length, but an average size is five feet long. They feed mostly on fish and sometimes small birds and mammals that fall into the water. Juveniles feed mostly on aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans. The name “spectacled” comes from the bony ridge between the eyes that look like a pair of reading glasses.

Header Credit: Holly Glessner
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The Great Amazon River Cruise
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The Great Amazon River Cruise

Encounter rain forest wildlife as we cruise aboard a deluxe riverboat along more than 400 miles of the Peruvian Amazon and its main tributaries to explore the river's remote headwaters.
9 Days / Year-Round, From $7190 (+air)
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Discover Amazon & Machu Picchu
New Itinerary!

Discover Amazon & Machu Picchu

A spectacular combination of nature, history and culture awaits on this jungle adventure to the famed Lost City of the Incas and the heart of the Amazon rain forest, teeming with wildlife.
10 Days / Year-Round, From $8495 (+air)
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