Paleosuchus – Dwarf caimans

Smallest members of the Crocodilian order

Genus Paleosuchus consists of the smallest members of the crocodilians, with males no longer than 2.3 m (7.5 in) and females being even smaller. They are found exclusively in South America, and the two species are sympatric in their distribution, meaning their distributions overlap in the Orinoco and Amazon Basins.

They are freshwater inhabitants, preferring to stay in cool, clear, fast-moving streams and rivers speckled with rapids and waterfalls. They are nocturnal hunters, and their prey choice depends on their developmental stage. Adults largely depend on small mammals, crabs, reptiles, birds, and fish.

Usually, eggs are laid at the end of the dry season in mound nests made of soil, sticks, and decaying vegetation.

Dwarf caimans are often victims of car strikes as they move about at night.