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see alligatoralligator,
large aquatic reptile of the genus Alligator, in the same order as the crocodile. There are two species—a large type found in the S United States and a small type found in E China. Alligators differ from crocodiles in several ways.
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the common name for three genera of reptiles (Caiman, Melanosuchus, and Paleosuchus) of the family Alligatoridae. They are distinguished from true alligators by the absence of a bony septum in the olfactory cavity and the presence of a bony abdominal shell. There are five species, found in bodies of water in Central and South America.

The largest is the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), which reaches a length of 4-5 m. It is found in the Amazon River basin. The female lays 30-40 eggs (each up to 9 cm) in a depression in moist soil near water. The black caiman feeds mainly on fish, but also eats waterfowl, marsh birds, and mammals. It will often attack small cattle, particularly during flash floods in semi-inundated pasture lands.


Wermuth, H., and R. Mertens. Schildkröten, Krokodile, Brückenechsen. Jena, 1961.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any of five species of reptiles of the genus Caiman in the family Alligatoridae, differing from alligators principally in having ventral armor and a sharper snout.


, caiman
any tropical American crocodilian of the genus Caiman and related genera, similar to alligators but with a more heavily armoured belly: family Alligatoridae (alligators, etc.)
References in periodicals archive ?
When they both reach their full size, caimans are normally fed rabbits, chickens and mice which would set back owners hundreds of pounds every month.
Cuarenta ejemplares subadultos de Caiman latirostris clinicamente sanos, 50% de cada sexo, fueron divididos homogeneamente en dos lotes de 20 animales y asignados respectivamente a las dietas A (38% proteinas; 5% grasas; 1,2% calcio; 0,8% fosforo) y B (64% proteinas; 5% grasas; 4,5% calcio; 2,7% fosforo).
Officials also feared that anyone buying the baby Caimans probably would not appreciate that adult Caimans reach over two metres long and owners may well have been forced to abandon them into the wild.
The reserve is home to thousands of caimans (easily observed in the dry season), 400 species of birds, at least 45 species of mammals, and up to 15,000 cormorants and herons, who enjoy fishing in the lakes, which teem with fish.
LOVE ME ZOO: Diane and Colin with boa, caiman, African turtle and a bearded dragon lizard
Chris Chambers, the vice president of medium/heavy vehicles department of mobility and protection systems, described the encouraging track record of the Caiman vehicle, the last of which rolled off the Sealy lot this week.
Alligators and caimans are actually crocodilians, but no matter what species they fall into, they're also among another category of pet in Massachusetts: illegal.
They argue that many large ranchers have preserved parts of their properties, providing habitats for threatened species, including large predators such as pumas, jaguars and caimans, a kind of tropical crocodile.
Little is known about caimans both in the wild and in captivity.
Alligator-like caimans doze while capybaras, the world's largest rodent species, munch on grasses along the riverbank.
The infection of reptiles with Trichinella species that are potentially infective for humans has become more important since demand for the meat of crocodiles, caimans, and alligators has increased in many areas of the world.