New home for Fawkes, the baby caiman

Deep Sea World

A captive-bred baby caiman has gone on public display for the first time at Deep Sea World, Scotland’s national aquarium.

Fawkes was born at Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire, close to Bonfire Night last November. He currently measures only about 30cms in length but will eventually grow up to six times longer.

After spending time in the aquarium’s quarantine area, he has now gone on public view in a brand new display. Deep Sea World’s Michael Morris said: “It’s great for visitors to be able to get to see Fawkes for the first time and he seems to be thoroughly enjoying exploring his new home.

“He is part of an ongoing captive breeding programme for the species and we’re delighted to be able to look after him here at Deep Sea World. Hopefully as he matures we will be able to find him a mate,” he added.

The Cuvier’s dwarf caiman is the smallest surviving member of the crocodilian family found in the Americas. Fully grown adult males reach up to 1.6 metres in length. They are found throughout South America and live in freshwater habitats like rivers, including the Amazon, flooded forests and larger lakes.

Cuvier's dwarf caiman

Cuvier’s dwarf caiman

The caimans are covered with extremely tough, bony armour plates. This may be to make up for their relatively small size and protect them from attacks by larger predators. In the wild the caiman build nests out of rotting vegetation. The heat generated by the decomposing plant matter helps to keep the eggs warm.

Although accurate records of their longevity are sparse it is thought some individuals can live for 40 years or more. Due to their relatively small size and the toughness of their skin the Cuvier’s dwarf caiman is not hunted commercially and their numbers in the wild are believed to be stable.

However the main threat to their survival comes from habitat destruction and pollution through gold mining and other industrial activities.

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