Melanosuchus – Black caiman

Largest alligators and largest predators of the Amazon river basin

The black caiman inhabits watery habitats, including flooded savannas, lakes, slow-moving rivers, streams, and wetlands.

Black caimans resemble American alligators in appearance and have a black coloring, as suggested by their popular name. Since their teeth are made to grab rather than rip, they soak their meal before swallowing it whole.

Even though they are currently categorized as Least concern, it wasn’t always the case. The scales of black caimans were sometimes hunted and slaughtered for use in clothing. Black caiman mortality in the last century reached 99%, but habitat degradation now threatens population recovery.