Caiman Are For Expert Reptile Keepers

Question: Would you recommend a caiman as a good pet? They’re so cool, and a spectacled caiman seems like the best bet for someone who wants to keep a crocodilian.
Frances Cornwall
St. Petersburg, Fla.


Ben Schusterbauer/Shutterstock

Caiman, even of the dwarf variety will grow very large, and as such are only to be kept by experienced reptile keepers.

First, a better bet for a captive caiman these days is a dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus spp.), because they don’t get near as large as the 8 feet a spectacled caiman can attain. But even so, a person needs to think long and hard as to whether or not they should try keeping a caiman. I had a baby spectacled caiman when I was young, and it wasn’t long for me to discover I was in over my head as it grew larger and more feisty. Luckily, I lived near an alligator farm at the time, and they gave him a good home.

Want To Learn More?

How to Build a Caiman Cage

Exciting Times Searching For Wild Crocodilians

Caiman should only be kept, if at all, by veteran herpers with decades of experience with many species, tons of know-how, and ample space in which to maintain a crocodilian. Even dwarf caiman can get about 5 feet in length. You can’t just toss these guys in a plastic tub and call it a day; a custom enclosure will most likely be a must.

So to answer your question, Frances, no, I would not recommend a caiman as a good pet — at least not for anyone other than the very specific type of person described, and that’s assuming having one is legal in that person’s home town/state. But for an intermediate enthusiast looking for a new challenge? No way.

For that rare person who fits the caiman owner profile, step-by-step instructions for building a proper caiman enclosure can be found here: ReptilesMagazine.com/caimancage.  —Ed.

Related Articles

Earliest Reptile Footprints

The earliest evidence for the existence of reptiles has been found in Canada.

How Tadpoles Optimize Their Buoyancy

Tadpoles are well-equipped to adjust their buoyancy in the water.

Blood and Short-tailed Python Care Sheet

The best blood and short-tailed python care and information.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module

Cast Your Vote

What lizard do you keep?


Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module

Find Us On facebook

Edit Module