Caimans are top aquatic predators from the Neotropics, that normally feed on fish, other caimans, birds, and even small mammals. In Tambo Blanquillo – Private Reserve we are privileged to have three resident species living inside our Reserve. In this blog post, we will give you a quick introduction to each of them, as well as information on where and when find them.
Black Caiman – Photo: Rob Williams
The Black Caimans are the giants of these waters. Reaching monstrous sizes of up to 5 meters, they are bigger –by far- than any other caiman or crocodile-like creature found in South-America. Although it is becoming more and rarer to see caimans that size, you never know when you might find a giant resting on a sandy beach along the Madre de Dios River. The smaller individuals of this species like to spend their time in our Oxbow Lakes. While they might not be too easy to spot during the day, at night it is possible to spot up to 50 caimans while paddling along one of our Oxbow Lakes.
The photo pictured above means a lot for us at Tambo Blanquillo. First of all, the photo shows a key symbiotic relationship, the salt removal. In the photo, you can see a fly –blue- and a bee –yellow- hanging near the caiman´s eye. They do this to consume the excess salt from the tear glands located in the area. This photo was a keystone for Manu, and it was the first photo we turned into a canvas to decorate our Lodge.
Spectacled Caiman – Photo: Alfredo Fernandez
Another big, while not enormous, caiman is the Spectacled Caiman. Also known as White Caiman, or Common Caiman it is distributed over much of South America. These caimans tend to avoid the Oxbow Lakes, and are found virtually only on the main rivers. If you want to see this species, we recommend you to visit us during the dry season (May-September) as there are more sandy-beaches for these guys to lay and sunbathe.
Dwarf Caiman – Photo: Lucas Bustamante
The last –and smallest- of the caimans found in Tambo Blanquillo – Private Reserve, is the Dwarf Caimans. Given their relatively small size –only reaching sizes of up to one meter-, these small caimans live on the shallow edges of Oxbows Lakes and very small moving rivers, trying to avoid predation from other, bigger, caimans. Spotting these caimans is generally not easy, but using a spotlight at night can produce great results. If you wish to see these guys, please ask your guide so he can take you on a night trip to Cocha Blanquillo to search for them.
If you would like to come and visit this amazing ecosystem, and all the species that inhabit it, please do not hesitate to contact us, so we can start planning the trip of a lifetime for you.