HomeOpinionScientists show the main predator of the Amazon

Scientists show the main predator of the Amazon

Although the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) is less well-known compared to crocodiles, it remains a mysterious and frightening creature of the Amazon rainforest and can eat almost anything in its path. The so-called dominant predator of the Amazon is the black caiman.

How big is the Black Caiman?

The Black Caiman is the largest member of the Alligatoridae family, which can grow up to 5 meters and includes crocodiles, caimans and some extinct species. The dark green color of its scales helps it camouflage itself in the dark waters of the Amazon at night. This species lives in many countries in the Amazon Basin, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, and possibly Venezuela.

In the past, black caiman were classified as endangered species by the IUCN Red List due to illegal hunting for their meat and valuable skins, which are in demand in the fashion industry. Fortunately, the IUCN estimates that caiman populations are recovering in many areas, but more research is needed to more accurately assess their status.

What does the Black Caiman eat?

According to a 2019 study that examined the diets of 75 black swifts in French Guiana, the main component of their diet is fish. But caimans also prey on birds and mammals that come too close to bodies of water.

Although not stated in the study, there is evidence that caimans can hunt animals such as deer, peccary and tapir.

Black Caiman attacking people

Human beings may also find themselves among the potential prey of these crocodiles at critical times. In a famous case recorded in the Brazilian state of Rondonia, an 11-year-old girl became the victim of a black slip.

This incident occurred in February 2010, when a driftwood about 4.2 meters long attacked the girl during the day while she was swimming with friends in the flooded area. The efforts of the rescue teams were unsuccessful until the evening of the same day, when the slip reappeared on the surface of the water, holding the girl in its mouth. The reptile was shot seven times and the child’s body was eventually found.

Regarding the hunting mechanism, the study states that “crocodiles and other crocodiles use their camouflage skills to sneak up on their prey, then suddenly attack and swallow the small prey whole.”

In the case of a large animal, it is “dragged into deep water and drowned, then kept at the bottom of the river or left trapped in the mouth until the tissues decompose and begin to soften, after which the reptile uses the rotating motion of the body to separate parts of the body and swallow them whole because its teeth are unsuited for chewing.” .” Source

Source: Port Altele

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