Caiman Research in Brazil
A member of the Crocodylidae family and of the subfamily Alligatorinae, the broad-nosed caiman is one of two species in the Caiman genus.
Recently hatched caimans about to be measured and weighed in a lab at the CEPARNIC research facilities on Ilha do Cardoso in southern Sao Paulo state in Brasil. A wonderful catch for researchers who are tracking the life cycles of the caiman to understand their niche in the ecology of the Atlantic rain forest. This project has since moved to Ilha Grande in and is being run by the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).
Many measurements are made with each captured animal prior to re-release in the same spot that they were captured. To enable growth rates to be determined, several key distances are measured, including overall length. Individual weights are recorded and if the animal is large enough, its stomach is pumped to determine what it has been eating. Some caiman are fitted with radio collars to determine home territories and the areas that they cover.
A Brasilian researcher, Tereca Melo, of the Fundacao ZooBotanica, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil is weighing one of the caiman caught the previous night. Caiman are located by their "eye shine" in a spot light at night. During the day they are hard to find because of their camouflage color and the fact that they hide back up in the mangroves or under the surface of the water. Small ones (under 3 feet) can be captured by hand, but larger ones require the use of a skilled hand and steel cable noose.