The common or spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) looks more like the American crocodile than the American alligator. Its color is similar to the crocodile's but with a shorter more rounded snout. Caiman are found primarily in freshwater canals and lakes and rarely exceed 5 feet in length.

Caiman Side view of a caiman
Alligator, Crocodile and Caiman
Top: American alligator, Middle: American crocodile, Bottom: common caiman

The Common caiman is an exotic species in Florida, although it has become established in the south eastern part of the state. Caiman are native to Central and South America, and their distribution in Florida will probably remain confined to south Florida because they cannot tolerate cold temperatures.



FWC Facts:
Pyrodinium bahamense, an HAB organism that blooms each summer in Tampa Bay and Indian River Lagoon, chemically lights up to glow in the dark. This is called bioluminescence.

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