cai·man noun \ˈkā-mən; kā-ˈman, kī-\
: any of several Central and South American crocodilians (genera Caiman, Melanosuchus, and Paleosuchus) similar to alligators
Variants of CAIMAN
cai·man also cay·man \ˈkā-mən; kā-ˈman, kī-\
Origin of CAIMAN
probably from Carib caymán
First Known Use: 1577
caiman noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Any member of several species of Central and South American reptiles of the alligator family. Like the rest of the crocodile order, caimans are amphibious, lizardlike carnivores. They live along the edges of rivers and other bodies of water, and reproduce by laying hard-shelled eggs in nests built and guarded by the female. The largest species is the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), a potentially dangerous animal with a maximum length of about 15 ft (4.5 m). Average lengths for the other species (genera Caiman and Paleosuchus) are 4–7 ft (1.2–2.1 m).
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