Brown caiman

Brown caiman

Brown caiman information

The Brown caiman, Caiman crocodilus fuscus, is one of three recognized subspecies of Caiman crocodilus.

Brown caiman taxonomy

Kingdom:      Animalia
Phylum:         Chordata
Class:            Reptilia
Order:           Crocodilia
Family:          Alligatoridae
Genus:           Caiman
Species:         Caiman crocodilus
Subspecies:   Caiman crocodilus fuscus

There are three recognized subspecies of Caiman crocodilus:

  • Caiman crocodilus crocodilus
  • Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis (Rio Apaporis Caiman)
  • Caiman crocodilus fuscus (Brown Caiman)

Brown caiman conservation status

Caiman crocodilus fuscus is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The estimated wild population exceeds 100,000 individuals.

More survey data is required to determine if this subspecies is endangered in any parts of its range. Current surveys have revealed populations to be low in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The primary threat throughout its range is habitat destruction, but illegal hunting is also a problem in certain areas.

Feral populations of Caiman crocodilus fuscus exist in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Brown caiman range

The Brown caiman is native to Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Feral populations exist in Cuba and Puerto Rico; islands to which this crocodilian was brought by man.

Brown caiman habitat

The Brown caiman is found in variety of habitat types and can survive in various water salinities.

Brown caiman size and appearance

The average size of the Brown caiman is 1-2 meters (3.3-6.6 feet). As the name suggests, its coloration differs from the other subspecies – it is darker and of an olive-brown shade. The difference is more noticeable in northerly populations while the southerly ones are less distinct from the other subspecies.  

Brown caiman feeding and diet

The bulk of its diet is comprised of fish and aquatic invertebrates, especially snails but also various crustaceans. It is however an opportunistic predator that will take other types of prey if given the opportunity.

Brown caiman breeding

The Brown caiman builds a mound nest using soil and plant material. A clutch normally consists of 15-30 eggs and the incubation time averages 75-80 days.

Brown caiman facts

Brown caiman facts # 1
The Brown caiman is also known as American caiman, Dusky caiman, Magdalena caiman,
Cuajipal, Jacaretinga, Lagarto Chato, Lagarto de Concha, Lagarto negro, Pululo, Talulín, and Wizizil.

Brown caiman fact # 2
The Brown caiman has 74-80 teeth.

Brown caiman facts # 3
The scientific name of this species, Caiman crocodilus fuscus, is derived from Spanish and Latin. Caiman is a Spanish term used for many different types of crocodilians, crocodilus is the Latin word for crocodile, and fuscus is the Latin word for the colour brown – a reference to the olive-brown colouration displayed by this species. 

Brown caiman fact # 4
Some sources regard Mexican and Central American populations of this subspecies to be C. c. chiapasius rather than C.c. fuscus.


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