Yacaré Caiman portraits – Pantanal, Brazil 2022

Yacaré Caiman portraits. This short film captures features of a commonly seen animal in Brazil’s Northern Pantanal: the Yacaré Caiman. Whilst these are now common, this was not always the case. They were hunted extensively to make crocodile shoes (during the 1980s, 1 million of them were taken annually)!! Thankfully they have recovered from this massacre due to conservation efforts. I find it mesmerising to watch their throats move and eyes blink as they laze on the river’s edge. But they are forever alert to a hunting opportunity. Flies buzz around their heads.

Whilst Yacaré Caiman are one of the smallest crocodilians, they can still reach lengths of 2-3m, have a muscular tail, weighty and superbly strong jaws, and extremely sharp teeth. Like all crocodilians, they hunt by stealth. Nostrils and eyes lie above the body line allowing then to to breath and see whilst mostly submerged. A ferocious predator: typical prey include Capybara, herons and fish.

The Pantanal is the world’s largest tropical wet land and flooded grasslands. Whilst mostly located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it also extends into Mato Grosso and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of up to 195,00 square kilometres (75,000 square miles) and some 80%of the floodplains are submerged during the rainy season. It is a remarkable place.