Many reptile pets offer their keepers a chance to experience something new and different. They are everything from tiny indoor dinosaurs to giant outdoor shelled and clawed monsters. Few reptiles are as unique and special as the Caiman Lizard, an animal that is both a medium sized tegu lizard and the closest thing to a crocodilian that most of us can keep as an exotic pet.
Caiman Lizard care and history
Caiman Lizards (Dracaena guianensis) are indigenous to the northern parts of South America. They are found throughout Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. They are shaped like a Tegu with short powerful limbs and a broad triangular head but unlike their terrestrial cousins they prefer to climb and hang on branches over water where they can find shelter from oncoming danger. Like a crocodile they have a third eyelid for seeing under water and a strong paddle like tail for navigating through the currents. They also have thick scutes on their back that very closely resembles those of their namesake South American Caiman. Knowing the background and history of these beautiful animals is the first step in achieving proper Caiman Lizard care.
Finding a pet Caiman Lizard for sale
Caiman Lizards are relatively new to the pet trade due to their endangered status in the wild and their very specific diet. The same beautiful color and texture of their hide made these amazing animals a heavily hunted part of the skin trade. After being offered protection in the early 70’s the numbers started to stabilize and with the introduction of breeding farms they can now be brought into the US legally and without disturbing the natural populations. When looking for a pet Caiman Lizard for sale be sure to find out what diet the animal is established on and how long they have been in the care of the distributors to ensure a healthy and long lived pet.
The perfect Caiman Lizard setup
Although you can keep these pets in a medium sized terrarium with a large water bowl and basking spot, the real fun starts when you take the time to arrange a perfect Caiman Lizard setup. Keeping in mind their affinity for water and their ability to climb you can design and build an enclosure that will be the centerpiece of any room. Some of the best habitats we have seen were in the six to eight foot by three to four foot size and were built to be viewed from all sides. Including a small pool with a drain will make your pet very happy and allow you to change the water regularly and easily. Finally a strong branch situated over the water and a couple of basking lamps will finish off the perfect setup. A thick bedding of mulch or dirt will offer the perfect digging and hiding area.
Caiman Lizard diet: what to feed your pet in captivity
Part of keeping exotic pets is the opportunity to interact with an animal that you would not normally find in your immediate surroundings. This is the very meaning of exotic and as you gather information to give your pet the perfect setup it is crucial to know what their diet consists of. In the wild the Caiman Lizard diet consists of snails, crayfish and fresh water clams. In captivity you can offer your pet a variety of foods including frozen or canned snails, fish flavored cat food or a mixture of ground turkey and dietary supplements. At xyzReptiles we carry Caiman Lizards when available and have them established on a specific diet before we ship them to you. Make sure you get in touch with us about the specific care of your animals before making a purchase.