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 is the average amount you spend per year on your herp’s veterinary care (including medication)?


Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module

Find Us On facebook

Edit Module