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Caiman Lizard Info

chelvis

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Caiman Lizard Care

Hey all, well it looks like Caiman Lizards are back in season this year. Best place to get them and the only place I would truly recommend is Ben at albinonile.com

So I took the plunge last year and got a caiman lizard. It was a hard choice because I really wanted one but there was no real info. Last year was the first time they had come down in price and a lot of people were buying them, so I think there should be more info coming out in the next few years on theses guys, but here is a leaping pad for the first year.

First off these are farmed breed and raised, not wild caught and not captive born, much like green iguanas. There is a good chance that these could carry internal or external parasites. Make sure to get them checked out and to properly quarantine them. That being said watch out for people trying to pump the price by saying they are CB, there are very few on the market that are truly CB. Avoid WC these have never done well in captivity.

Set-up: I started much like my tegu, start small the build up. I recommended after trial and error to use a 50/50 land to water ratio and the water does not have to be deep. This was also recommended to me by some zoo keepers I got to talk to, they said they let their adults (WC) out for swims and most of the time they stay in the shallows. I do let mine into the bath tub when its full to swim a bit.
I would avoid making a ramp out of debris like one would do with a turtle or frog set-up. These guys love to dig as well and can tear that up. Also climbing and basking branches are a must. These guys are arboreal, terrestrial (mine burrows sometimes) and aquatic. These make them very interesting pets but also harder to create the perfect set up. 4” of mulch is enough (tegu owner hear so of course its cypress mulch) and a few sturdy branches, with a pool are the minimums.
Temps I keep the temp above 60 at night and should be closer to 70, once out of the hatchlings stage they are more cold tolerant but nothing like a tegu. Day temps are in the 80s to 90 range with a basking spot reaching 100. The water should also be heated, I use a small fish water heater with an internal thermo (when the reptile thermostats broke this is what saved my caiman lizards life, the air was cold but the water heater was working so he went to the only warmth). I highly recommend using a UVB light, I use a PowerSun 100 watt MVB and have seen no problems with MBD or anything else.

Diet: Now here is the interesting part. The FB (farm breed) caiman lizards can be feed almost anything. Mine was taking seafood flavored cat food, turkey, fish and most other things. I have switched him to a more natural diet comprised mainly of snails, fish, shrimp, crab and crawfish; all of which is found in my local Asian market. I found his colors really popped and his growth in length took off at this point. He is currently 2 ½ feet long at one year.
Other owners have had great luck with turkey, rat pups, insects and other foods as well. I just remember hearing about savy monitors dying from kidney issues due to the wrong diet growing up.

Temperament: All I have to say is they truly are related to Tegus. I bought mine advertised as a tame hatchling and she enough I would consider him tame. Right now he is still a bit huffy and puffy and when his had enough he has had enough. That being said there have been times when I have had him out and he does not want to go back into his cage. It took some time and work to get him use to me. Much like a tegu it was a trust building exercise, a few days of short handling before getting longer and longer. Now I can do my whole morning routine with him on my shoulder, right now as I type this out he is sleeping the pouch of my sweatshirt. They do calm down and in my option relatively fast. Having kept monitors and worked with them I would say a caiman lizard take less effort than a monitor but a little longer than a tegu.

Recommendation: Those looking for an aquatic animal, with a few years of large lizard experience wanting something new I would say go for it. Not for a newbie or those with no time, if you find a tegu to be too much work stay away from these guys. Oh and they are addicting; I am looking to add two more this year. I do hope to breed in the future and if not oh well, they are very interesting lizards. Keep in mind these are heavily bodied, well toothed and armored 4 foot lizards. Just because they are new and exciting does not mean everyone should get one.

Me and Bacardi wish you all the best and feel free to keep the emails and PMs coming. Or better yet post here, chances are you got the same question as someone else.

Fine print: I am no expert on this lizard or its husbandry I am just putting down what I have found to work well for me and my lizard in the first year.
 

dragonmetalhead

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Thanks for the great info! I've been trying to research caiman lizards and it's frustrating how little material there is. Please post some pics of Bacardi. :)
 

chelvis

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I need to find my camera, lol. Here is one off my phone.

CaimanLizard.jpg


He lets the phone right next to him. A bit dry right now but looking good.
 

Rhetoric

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He looks a lot bigger than the little guy in your sig! :)
 

chelvis

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lol ya. That pic in my sig is from June. I can't belive how much he has grown in the short time.
 

dragonmetalhead

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Dude, he's awesome. You've infected me with caiman lizard fever. I want one so bad, now! Lol. :) I think I know what my next larger lizard will be in the future.
 

TeguBuzz

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Thanks for the info chelvis. Bacardi is looking real nice, makes me want to get one for myself, but not just yet, need to get some breeding projects sorted first!
 

Aardbark

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Great looking guy, more pics.

What is he like? Is he friendly, can you handle him? Whats his attitude like?
 

chelvis

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Got to find my camera, I think I left it at work again. He is very much like a young tegu right now. I can easily pick him up and handle him. He has never biten me or really got me with his tail. The only thing i would change are those nails! They are like little razors, they are amazing climbers so i get why they have them, but man my hands have taken a beating. They seem pretty inteigant, mine picked up the clicker really quick, but then I gave up on it.

Here is another pic from my phone of him resting in the pouch on the front of my sweatshirt. I might have some stored on this computer will have to check.
CaimainSweatshirt.jpg
 

Johnnydr

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I think you may have infected me as well. What is your setup like for a guy that size? It must be difficult maintaining an arboreal/terrestrial/aquatic animal and finding a way to house them if you aren't so savy with building things, like me lol.
 

Reptile_fever

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Thats the most information that i've read on these fellas up to date!! Thank you for sharing with us.A buddy of mine giving me one,i've ben dyeing to get one for two years know. But like others ,i to couldn't find much information of these species.Could you share some pictures of it's enclosure,i would like to verify & probably get some ideas of yours also!! Thank you for sharing... Jose
 

chelvis

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Right now my caiman is in a temp enclosure, the heating in my place went out and being on solar and wind power I can't run the reptile heaters hot enough at my place. I will have to check my work computer to see if I got some pictures of the set-up. Hopefully I can have those up sometime before the holidays. I am hoping to move to a different place before next winter.
 

Reptile_fever

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chelvis said:
Right now my caiman is in a temp enclosure, the heating in my place went out and being on solar and wind power I can't run the reptile heaters hot enough at my place. I will have to check my work computer to see if I got some pictures of the set-up. Hopefully I can have those up sometime before the holidays. I am hoping to move to a different place before next winter.

That's a bummer,hopefully you do have some pictures. I wish you good luck with your move!!
 

chelvis

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Well i found an old vid i did of Bacardi's set up before I moved this fall (i really have to stop moving). First are some pictures of him this fall:
IMG_3333.jpg

IMG_1823.jpg


This is a snap shot of the cage before the move:
IMG_1206.jpg


And the vid, I just put this up a few seconds ago so it might still be processing. Sorry about the bad audio and the lozy videography, it was kind of a make shift vid:
http://youtu.be/g2wtGFGRqwM
 

Reptile_fever

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Very nice!! What are the dimensions of it? Also Thank you so much for your cooperation. He or She looks amazing too!!
 

chelvis

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Its a bit on the small size at 4x26"x26", but I think by June i should have the new cage all done. I think Bacardi is a male, he has bbs like my tegu does and a really great color going on. Who knows, love him all the same.
 

james.w

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What size enclosure would you think would be adequate for an adult?
 

chelvis

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I have heard peopel say that a 4x6 is min, I am guessing that its similar to that of an adult tegu but with 3 to 4 feet head space.
 

got10

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That is a beautiful animal . Oh I am at an issue here. Do I reduce my collection and get rid of my female reds and my blue or do i just go full steam ahead and make the purchase? C'mon people give me a hand here I'll take the opinions here seriously for my decision . I posted pics for you guys to see my two i might give up for a caiman lizard[attachment=3755]
 

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Rhetoric

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Oooooh!! A female you say?! ;)
I've got a little list of things I would eventually like, I've caught caiman fever as well. Unfortunately I'm still young and I don't own my own place yet so I still have to listen to the landlord.
 

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