Caiman Lizard: Basic Information

The Caiman Lizard, or Guiana Dragon, belongs to the Teidae family. This reptile has double scales on the upper body, so it looks like a small Caiman. Unlike all other alligators, it is completely harmless and does not pose any threat to humans.


These animals got their name because of the hard scales that cover their bodies, which makes them look like Caiman crocodiles. They have a massive head and a long, flattened tail. A scaly ridge runs along the back of the tail. Body length up to 1 m. They have a massive head and a long laterally flattened tail. It is distinguished by longitudinal rows of large horny plaques covering the neck and back, as well as a double scaly crest running along the tail. The Caiman Lizard has an olive-brown top and a black and yellow marbled pattern below. The head is yellowish or reddish.


The Caiman Lizard can be found inhabiting the rainforests and marshlands of South America in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Caiman Lizards are most commonly seen in areas that are flooded as they are semi-aquatic creatures.

Caiman Lizard in Nature

Since the Caiman Lizard spends most of its time either in the water or around the water, the Caiman Lizard’s body is adapted in a way that helps it live more successfully in aquatic life. The best example of this is the long, flat tail, which helps guide his body while swimming.
Caiman Lizards are large, carnivorous carnivores that hunt other animals for essential nutrients. Snails are the main food source for the Caiman Lizard along with other invertebrates such as insects and crabs, and sometimes larger animals such as fish, rodents, and amphibians.


Although very little is known about the reproduction of the Caiman Lizard, they supposedly behave in the same way as other large lizard species. After mating, female Caiman Lizard eggs lay their eggs in termite mounds located on river banks, thus hiding them to protect them from hungry predators. The eggs are quite large, up to six centimeters. When the Caiman Lizard cubs hatch from their eggs, they are completely independent as they do not need any parenting care.

Keeping in Captivity

The main food is freshwater gastropods, whose shells are easily crushed by the Caiman Lizard with flattened molars. Then she spits out the remains of the shells and swallows the mollusks.

Glass terrariums are not the best solution for keeping. This is due not only to the fact that a strong lizard can break glass but also to poor air exchange. A terrarium made of wood is more suitable, only it must be covered with several layers of hot drying oil. Its size should be such that the animal can move easily. The optimal length of the room is twice the length of the lizard, and the width and height should be 45 cm each. In the terrarium, shelters filled with moist sphagnum are needed.

A thick layer of soft moist soil, such as coconut chips, is desirable – they like to make burrows. Temperature indicators: daytime 24-30 ° C, nighttime 21-27 °, under a heating lamp – 50-55 ° C. Air humidity 50-70%. It is necessary to spray the terrarium 2 times a day. It must have a reservoir of sufficient size for the lizard to fit. It is better if the pond is equipped with an external filter because these lizards defecate in the water. For lighting, fluorescent lamps are used in combination with “Repti Glo 5.0” (some believe that ultraviolet irradiation is not necessary due to the burrowing lifestyle).

Life expectancy is at least 20 years.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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