It lives in the centre of South America, where it inhabits freshwater shallow lakes and marshlands, as well as coastal rivers and streams. Juveniles mainly feed on invertebrates, while adults’ diet is based on small mammals and birds.
This species is notable for its wide and rounded snout, a feature shared with other marsh crocodiles. Most specimens do not exceed 2.5 m long.
Bolivia, northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and south-eastern Brazil.
- Distribution / Resident
- Extint in the wild
- Critically endangered
- In Danger
- Near threatened
- Minor concern
- Insufficient data
- Not evaluated
Discover how they are
As its name suggests, it has a short and very wide snout, with small black spots similar to the ones of the yacare caiman. At eye level its snout is as long as wide. The iris is greenish. Males rarely exceed three meters long and females two meters.
It is very aquatic and a typical inhabitant of shallow freshwater marshlands, swamps and wetlands. It prefers areas with good plant coverage and tropical wet climates, but it can survive in areas with more temperate and drier climate than other species.
It feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, fish, small mammals and reptiles, including turtles.
Its nests are piles of plants, where the females lay 20 to 50 eggs. Incubation lasts for two to three months, during which females guard and defend the nest. Upon hatching, mothers help the new-born break the shell and carry them to the water in their mouth.
Although females protect the hatchlings during the first months, juveniles suffer from a high rate of natural mortality due to predation, especially from birds of prey such as black vultures or caracaras.
It is an endangered species because it is hunted extensively throughout its distribution area for its highly-valued skin, and is also threatened by the degradation of its habitat, due to deforestation and water pollution. The reported numbers of its populations is not much reliable, but it seems to be abundant only in certain private land extensions and protected areas of the Brazilian Pantanal and the Iberá system in Argentina.