South West News

Caiman Capers At The Blue Reef Aquarium

There is a brand new arrival at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. A male Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman which has been nicknamed ‘The Colonel’ by the staff has taken up residency in the aquariums Amazonian exhibit.

Donated by John Harrison of Lost World Reptiles, the young caiman joins the aquariums existing female Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman, Nibbles who is 16 years his senior. When carefully introduced under the watchful eyes of Blue Reef’s trained aquarists it seemed to be love at first sight for the pair. They are getting on really well and are often spotted snuggling up together by the exhibits waterfall.


“As soon as he got into the water he went straight over to Nibbles who accepted him instantly which was great to see. Often upon introductions there can be territorial arguments between the reptiles, but not with this pair. We are now working on target feeding the caiman so that we can monitor his food intake.” said Jade Hammond aquarist at the Blue Reef Aquarium.


The Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman or Paleosuchus palpebrosus are the smallest species of the crocodilian family with a total length averaging 1.4 m for males and up to 1.2 m for females.


Their size makes them desirable within the illegal pet trade where they are smuggled from South America. They are an extremely dangerous animal and owners are required to have a ‘Dangerous Wild Animal Licence’ and strict conditions to keep them. They are best kept by zoo and aquarium professionals.


At the Blue Reef Aquarium this February half-term visitors can learn all about the caiman and his friends with a ‘Who Am I?’ quiz and a ‘Lost Caiman’ trail that they can take part in as well as frequent daily talks and feeds featuring all the amazing creatures.


A special Rocky Shore Explore Education event will take place on Friday 16th February where students from the Applied Marine Zoology degree course at Cornwall College Newquay will be displaying all things rocky shore and holding a craft workshop where the kids can make their very own rocky shore in a box.

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