One of the typical species in our region is Yacaré Overo, or broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris). Learn more about the characteristics of this inhabitant of the wetlands, which can be seen in its natural habitat during the tours we offer to guests staying at Puerto Valle Hotel de Esteros.
Some characteristics of yacaré overo:
- It is approximately two and a half meters in length and has a peculiar behavior.
- It lives in areas of intense vegetation and tropical climate. It moves through the estuaries, and has the pleasant habit to sunbathe in reservoirs, marshes and shrubs.
- The diet of the broad-snouted caiman is exclusively carnivorous; it feeds mainly on snails and other mollusks, and crustaceans, and catches other reptiles and small mammals.
It is important to emphasize that caimans do not usually attack, because they fear people and they do not waste their energy; they reserve it to feed themselves.
Why is the Yacaré Overo a threatened species?
The broad-snouted caiman is a threatened species because of several factors. It should be noted that not all specimens reach adulthood, and they are an easy prey for birds that fly over the region. In addition, illegal hunting affects this population, as caiman is sought after for its skin, which is used to make leather goods, and its meat and eggs, for cooking.
How are specimens reintroduced to their natural habitat?
- The Ranching process consists of leaving breeders in their natural environment, and lifting the eggs in artificial incubators. Caimans are cold-blooded animals and are in full activity during the spring and summer. They lay between 20 and 50 eggs only once a year. In their natural habitat, less than 2% of the specimens that are born in the wild reach adulthood.
- Losses during that stage must be prevented. By offering adequate temperature and humidity, it is possible to considerably increase the number of animals that will have the opportunity to reproduce in their adult stage.
- The eggs are moved in numbered troughs to a suitable incubator. At birth, the young are measured, marked by nest number, weighed and disinfected before being transferred to the breeding pool, where they will remain for the first year.
- Through restocking, a high number of animals born in captivity are added to those born in the wild. Therefore, a percentage can be allocated for commercial purposes and another percentage for their reintroduction into their natural habitat, thus guaranteeing that the wild population is preserved.
- The young are returned to the same places where the eggs were gathered, for which purpose reason the nests are numbered. Before releasing them, they are weighed and measured, their sex is determined, and their health is checked.
Our experience with the broad-snouted caiman
In Esteros del Iberá, visitors have the opportunity to see the broad-snouted caiman in the vicinity of Portal Cambyretá and Laguna Valle. During their stay in Puerto Valle, guests can go on a Safari of the Iberá National Park and an Expedition to Laguna Valle to live a one-of-a-kind experience surrounded by unique species. Guides share with visitors the main characteristics of local species and explain the restocking efforts, including the case of the Red Macaw and the Yacaré Overo.