Smooth-forehead caimans

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Smooth-forehead caimans
Young smooth-fronted caimans (Paleosuchus palpebrosus)

Young smooth- fronted caimans ( Paleosuchus palpebrosus )

without rank: Sauropsida
without rank: Archosauria
Order : Crocodiles (crocodylia)
Family : Alligators (Alligatoridae)
Subfamily : Caimans (Caimaninae)
Genre : Smooth-forehead caimans
Scientific name
Gray , 1862

The smooth-fronted caimans ( Paleosuchus ) are a genus of crocodiles (Crocodylia) from the tropical rainforests of South America . There are two types , the wedge-headed caiman ( Paleosuchus trigonatus ) and the brow-smooth-forehead caiman ( Paleosuchus palpebrosus ).


The smooth-fronted caimans living today reach a maximum body length of between 1.50 and 1.70 meters, so they are relatively small crocodile species. The legs of the animals are relatively long and enable them to walk very high, reminiscent of that of mammals . The neck shields and the shields of the tail are large and triangular, the edges very sharp. Other features of the smooth-fronted caimans are the brown eyes and the lack of a bony ridge between the eyes, hence the name of the group. Overall, the body and also the tail are very ossified.


Both species live in the interior of the tropical rainforests of the Amazon and Orinoco , the brow-smooth-forehead caiman also in the area of ​​the Rio São Francisco , Paraná and Paraguay . The browed smooth-fronted caiman is mainly found in the flooded forest areas, the wedge-headed smooth-fronted caiman in the smaller streams and rivers.

Way of life

Smooth-fronted caimans build nests of hills from soil and plant material, which they hide in the undergrowth .

They lay 30 to 60 eggs.

The young animals mainly feed on insects , but from a relatively small size they also hunt snakes , birds and lizards . Adult caimans also feed on small mammals .


  • Charles A. Ross (Ed.): Crocodiles and Alligators - Development, Biology and Distribution , Orbis Verlag Niedernhausen 2002
  • Joachim Brock: Crocodiles - A life with armored lizards , Natur und Tier Verlag Münster 1998

Web links

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