List of the suitable species to be kept in the captivities ..
CAIMAN | JACARÉ-DO-PANTANAL | CAIMAN YACARE
FAQs for the crocodiles suitable in captivity :
- Do caimans, alligators and crocodiles make good pets?
In a word, no.
Be quite clear - crocodilians are definitely not suitable for beginners, and they are not recommended even for intermediate-level hobbyists. If you have never owned a reptile before, then take this valuable piece of advice: do not consider purchasing a crocodilian, and instead look at species like skinks, geckos, agamids or small non-venomous snakes. This is not being patronising, because there are far easier and less expensive ways of learning to keep reptiles in captivity. Crocodilians should only be considered by very experienced individuals who have the resources to look after large, demanding reptiles that are difficult to house, difficult to handle, and increasingly expensive to keep.
Small juvenile crocodilians are deceptive - they seem easy enough to handle, and persuasive dealer talk can easily convince people to part with their cash. But do not be fooled. As they grow larger, crocodilians rapidly become stronger and more boisterous. After only a year, many people can no longer handle their animals and it is very common to see 1 to 2 year old animals being given away or illegally released into the wild. Larger crocodilians are, without a doubt, extremely dangerous animals. They are usually hostile, and most people underestimate just how fast and strong they can be - I've seen a 6 foot crocodile throw three adult men off its back. Crocodilians require skill and experience to handle, and larger animals often require a team of people to deal with safely. Failure to account for this means you risk coming away with very serious injuries. Even a small caiman can put you into hospital and scar you for life.
Bill Moss writes: "This picture (right) shows the results of a bite to the hand of a 23-year-old woman by a young, 3 foot spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). Another person was handling the animal when the woman attempted to point to something and ask a question. She moved her hand parallel to the caiman's head and about 6 inches away. The caiman struck sideways and was able to grab her hand. The woman reacted by retracting her hand, which resulted in the tearing of the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
The result of the bite was eight internal stitches, 6 external stitches, a damaged nerve running to the index finger, permanent scarring and approximately $US600 in medical treatment."
Still want a crocodilian for a pet?
Perhaps you think a crocodilian can be tamed? Think again. Most people expect that regular handling will reduce their aggressive reptile into a placid lapdog, but they come away disappointed. While some species can become more tolerant than others, this often requires many years of hard work, and most realise that crocodilians are hands-off captives in the best interests of the crocodilian and the owner.
By now, you should be in no doubt that crocodilians do not make good pets for the majority of people. However, with suitable experience, the right equipment, enough space and money to set up an appropriate enclosure, plenty of determination and the right attitude, crocodilians can be very rewarding to keep - just as long as you know what to expect. For most people reading this manual, only a small handful of species would be considered suitable for captivity.
How old do you have to be to keep a crocodilian?
This will be tough for some readers to accept, but it is good advice: crocodilians are not for kids. Often those who are most enthusiastic about keeping crocodilians tend to be younger, typically still in their teens. However, given the general unsuitability of crocodilians as "pets" and the experience required to keep them, it is strongly recommended that you are in stable financial position, have longterm facilities available, are physically capable of dealing with very strong and boisterous reptiles, and that you have several years of experience with larger reptiles. Yes it's true, anyone can keep a hatchling alligator or crocodile easily. But they don't stay that way for long. Most teenagers live in times of great change, and their ability to keep a crocodile now may not be the same in a few years. Think very carefully about your future plans, otherwise you will have several feet of very large reptile to try and get rid of when nobody wants it.
Which crocodilian species make the best captives?
For many years the spectacled caiman, Caiman crocodilus, has been the most popular crocodilian found in the pet trade. This has recently changed with the increased availability of better alternative species, and changes in the law that restrict ownership of Caiman crocodilus in the US.
Dwarf caimans (Paleosuchus spp.) have taken over as the most popular species on account of their easy availability and small adult sizes. The African dwarf crocodile, Osteolaemus tetraspis, is also attracting more attention due to its size, although in temperament it is only for experienced keepers. American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis, remain widely available but their suitability is questionable due to their very large adult sizes. Without doubt, accommodation is the number one problem with keeping crocodilians in captivity and hence dictates which species are better than others.
A brief discussion of the most common species available in captivity follows. Despite their differences, most species have very similar requirements in captivity after their size and growth rates have been accounted for.
All below text and some photos are courtesy to : crocodilian.com/crocfaq/faq-2.html
1-American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) :
A. mississippiensis is ubiquitous in freshwater habitats including lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, swamps and marshland. Although it has poor tolerance to salinity, individuals occasionally venture into brackish water for short periods. During periods of drought, they migrate overland looking for freshwater. This often brings them into conflict with humans as they take shelter in swimming pools and garden spas.
STATUS IN WILD :
A. mississippiensis is quite secure in the wild. There are well over a million animals in stronghold states like Florida and Louisiana, and there is clearly no immediate threat to the wild population. A. mississippiensis is listed on CITES Appendix II due to similarity of appearance to more endangered species.
AVERAGE ADULT SIZE :
Males can reach 12 to 14.5 feet (3.7 to 4.4 m), females can reach 7 to 10 feet (2.1 to 3.0 m). Growth rates vary with temperature and food intake, but at least 1 to 2 feet per year when young.
SUITABILITY AS CAPTIVES :
A. mississippiensis can make good captives when young, but the main issue is their rapid growth rates and large adult sizes which makes them expensive to house and very difficult to handle without suitable experience. Alligators are often described as relatively docile, but that description is misleading and temperament is highly docile. Many individuals remain boisterous and, at larger sizes, very difficult to handle. They are not recommended for those without experience.
SPECIFIC HUSBANDRY :
There are now healthy populations of alligators in most of the southern United States within their range. Captive farming is big business, and hence hatchlings are commonly made available to the pet trade. Cute baby alligators have been popular as unusual pets for many years, yet in virtually all cases the owners end up disposing of their gator when it starts to exceed their ability to keep it. American alligators are a fairly large and fast growing species - on average if given the right conditions, temperature and space, they increase in length by around 50 cm (1.5 feet) each year for the first few years, and adult males can reach 3.5 to 4.0 metres (12 to 13 feet) in 15 to 20 years. Farm raised gators, fed intensively, can attain higher growth rates (e.g. 1.75 m / 5.7 ft after 2 years). They do have the advantage of being one of the more docile crocodilian species - some individuals becoming relatively tame with a lot of work. However, they are not considered suitable as captives for the majority of keepers because of their large size and therefore the considerable expense required to house them.
FURTHER INFORMATION :
CLICK HERE to read the Crocodilian Species List entry for A. mississippiensis
DISTRIBUTION IN WILD:
Southeastern United States, specifically Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas
Newly hatched Alligator mississippienisshowing typical juvenile colouration
Juvenile alligator (2 years) displaying an open-mouthed threat
Adult female alligator (9 years) basking in an outdoor exhibit
2- Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis)
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Over 1,600 Yangtze Alligators Born through Artificial Hatching in E China Province
This species is the most critically endangered of all crocodilians in the wild, found only in a very restricted area in eastern China. However, the Anhui Research Centre of Chinese Alligator Reproduction has been successfully captive breeding the species for many years, and it's likely that more individuals will become available through legal trade.
The Chinese alligator is thought to be one of the best species for captivity, males growing to an average adult size of 2.0 metres (6.5 feet). It's body is comparable to Osteolaemus tetraspis, yet with a very long tail. Chinese alligators are, like their American cousins, relatively docile and can become fairly tame and easy to handle with a lot of work. Unlike other species, the hatchlings are also relatively calm and do not become stressed so easily.
More information :
Chinese Alligator enclosure build
Chinese alligator enclosure
3- Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus & subspecies) :
This species is otherwise known as the common caiman, and in this respect they are true to their name. They are widely distributed throughout Central and South America in a variety of habitats due to their adaptability and more generalist nature. They are also commonly available in the pet trade, and are probably the most popular crocodilian species kept by private individuals. However, they are perhaps not the best captives. Adult males can grow from 2 to 2.5 metres (6.5 to 8 feet) in total length in 10 to 15 years and they have a reputation for being particularly aggressive. Hatchlings are generally very shy and will spend at lot of time at first hiding from view, although they soon become bolder and more aggressive. It is much harder to end up with a tame spectacled caiman, and most adults become quite difficult to handle.
other websites :
Spectacled Caiman Care
SPECTACLED CAIMAN FEEDING
Taking care of : Caiman and other crocodilians
Feeding the spectacled caiman @ pets a plenty
Yacare caimans (or Jacaré) are found in South America and are sometimes available to buy as captives. In appearance, they are similar to Caiman crocodilus (of which they were thought to be a subspecies until a few years ago) although with a heavier head and more colourful markings with bold black slashes on the lower jaw. Adult males can grow to at least 2.5 metres (8 feet) and sometimes approach 3.0 metres (10 feet). As hatchlings, they are generally less shy than Caiman crocodilus and slightly preferable for captivity if you have the room to house them correctly. Caiman yacare juveniles and subadults are noticeably vocal particularly at night.
4- Yacare caiman / Jacaré (Caiman yacare)
Other websites :
Yacare Caiman calling
Crocodilians .. introduction
Crocodilians .. introduction