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Caiman Lizard

Dracaena guianensis

  • Family: Teiidae
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4 feet
  • Range: Tropical jungles of Amazonian South America.
  • Habitat: Forested corridors along rivers and streams.
  • Captive Lifespan: 8 to 12 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Advanced


This is not a lizard for beginners! This rare and specialized denizen of forested riverbanks is imported in low numbers and is still a rarity in the pet trade. The caiman lizards’ large size and potentially painful bite are two more reasons that few tackle its husbandry. Worst of all, most fresh imports prefer a diet of snails – a food item difficult to provide for most keepers.

A wood mulch substrate works well in a cage that is at least 2 feet by 4 feet in floor dimensions. A soaking pan in which the caiman lizard can submerge completely should be at one end of the enclosure. A wooden ‘cave’ at the other end must large enough to allow the caiman lizard to curl up inside. Aim a basking lamp at the shelter’s top so the caiman lizard can utilize the ‘roof’ as a daytime place to warm up.

Caiman lizards have been persecuted in their natural habitat for their crocodilian-like skins. We are still learning the subtleties of the caiman lizards’ behavior and natural history. Little is known of its reproductive habits.

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