Paleosuchus trigonatus — Smooth-fronted Caiman
Also known as:
Smooth-fronted Dwarf Caiman
A group of us were returning from a relatively unproductive night road-cruising the only actual road in the Iquitos area when we saw something gawky lumbering at us in the headlights. It turned out to be this smiling caiman, which was more than content to let several people take turns getting their photo taken while holding it. However, its patience eroded when Duane McDermott tried to get it to pose "salamander style" using a six-inch twig, and approximately one millisecond later the caiman was once again smiling, but Duane was not; instead, he was bleeding from a pretty significant bite wound on the back of his hand. Lesson learned: do not disrespect the caiman!
Tom Williams was really hoping to see one of these small crocodilians, so he was quite excited when he saw suspicious-looking eyeshine on the far side of a shallow pond. No shallow pond can keep out Tom when he has his quarry in sight, and after a few moments of stealthy wading he pounced, splashed, and triumphantly held aloft his prey. Unlike the last time I saw one of these caimans, no humans (or caimans) were injured in the pursuit of photography.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest