Caymans and crocodiles are members of the Crocodile order. They have a similar body structure, similar habits and habits. But it is the caimans that differ slightly from other representatives of their taxon, which made it possible to distinguish them into a separate family and genus.
Caimans - these are representatives of the Cayman genus of the Alligator family, belonging to the Crocodile detachment.
Crocodiles is a detachment that includes caimans.
Given that caimans are only one of the families of the order of Crocodiles, they have a common "basic set". It includes the body shape characteristic of lizards with a powerful tail, equal to the length of the body with the head. The animals are covered with horny scutes, growing in parallel rows, and have a special skull shape that makes them among all reptiles the most similar to extinct dinosaurs. Like all reptiles, crocodiles are cold-blooded, but unlike turtles, snakes and lizards, they have a four-chambered heart. Today there are 23 species of crocodiles on Earth.
Only three species of animals belong to the Cayman family - crocodile, broad-faced and Paraguayan caiman. It is believed that the main difference between caimans and other crocodiles is the structure of the jaws. In crocodiles, they are wide at the base and end with a sharp end. The upper jaw overhangs the lower jaw slightly. In caimans, the jaws are slightly shorter, they end in a soft, rounded shape. The upper jaw is slightly shorter than the lower one. The baby caiman's jaws are snub-nosed and cute, comparable to a duck's beak.
Another difference is the desire of caimans to exist exclusively in clean and fresh water, while there are crocodiles living in salt water (Australian) or in the waters of a muddy river (Nile or Chinese crocodiles). This is because caimans lack special eye glands that regulate water-salt balance, that is, caimans cannot and cannot shed crocodile tears.
Associated with the lack of such an important skill is the limited area of distribution of caimans. These animals can be seen only in rivers and lakes of Central and South America with appropriate water parameters. Other representatives of the order of Crocodiles can be found on all continents, except Antarctica, in the zone of action of the equatorial, subequatorial and tropical climatic zones.
- The number of crocodile species exceeds the number of caiman species.
- The main difference between caimans and other crocodiles is the structure of the jaws.
- Caymans cannot shed "crocodile tears" - they have no eye glands.
- Crocodiles have a wider range than caimans.