I suppose it’s been long enough now. Everyone, meet “Smaug”.

A month or so ago, our friend from Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center contacted us about helping a caiman that was dropped off to their facility. We arrived to find a baby Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) that was overly skinny, weak and had a serious bacterial infection in parts of his skin- resulting in his scales literally rotting off of him. The person who dropped him off said they “found him”, but in this part of Louisiana and the condition he was in, he was most assuredly an owner surrender. (His condition is 100% preventable with what he would have had in the wild). Crocs are incredible creatures, but a lot of the time, people just aren’t prepared for the level of commitment they need to their husbandry and diet. <insert blurb about doing research and not buying things because they are cool, or make you look cool. There’s nothing “cool” about almost killing your animals due to ignorance>

After a LOT of intensive treatment and food trials, and thanks to Chris being a known crocodilian expert, I’m happy to report that he has gained much in strength, is gaining weight from now steadily eating without hesitation, and his skin issue is under control and on the mend. We are thrilled to have him here with us and look forward to watching him continue to grow and develop. He still has a little ways to go, but we’re confident he will get there. I’m learning SO MUCH from this little guy, and Chris, every day :)  

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Video by @bertiegregory. Meet scarface, a huge male jaguar who lives in Brazil’s northern Pantanal. He specialises in hunting caiman, South America’s equivalent of a crocodile. Here, he’s patrolling the river bank in search of his next meal. Check out my profile to see what he’s capable of! Shot on assignment for @stevewinterphoto, @natgeo and @natgeowild. Follow @bertiegregory for more videos from our jaguar project.

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  • natgeo Video by @bertiegregory. Yacare caiman are capable of making water dance! When displaying to potential mates and showing members of the same sex who’s boss, they sink down into the water so their backs are just below the surface. They then produce a spooky low frequency booming noise which causes this bizarre spectacle. Shot for @stevewinterphoto, @natgeowild and @natgeo. Follow @bertiegregory for more wildlife adventures.
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Caiman swimming in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador