An Exotic Taxidermy Spectacled Caiman Alligator

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Origin: South American
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920
Length 48 inches
Width: 13 inches (at widest point)
Height: 6.5 inches (at maximum)


The Caiman full body reptile mount is cord sewn, with marble eyes, in good overall condition, and the teeth remain in tact with most of the skin still lustrous. There are two old repairs; one at the tail and one on a front arm and a handful of digits have suffered small amounts of loss.

The spectacled (White or common) caiman (Caiman crocodilus) is a crocodilian reptile belonging to the alligator family found in much of Central and South America. It lives in a range of lowland wetland and riverine habitat types and can tolerate salt water as well as fresh; due in part to this adaptability it is the most common of all crocodilian species. Males of the species are generally between 2 and 2.5 meters, while females are smaller, usually around 1.4 meters, meaning this example was probably female, or perhaps a younger male. The species' common name comes from a bony ridge between the eyes, which give the appearance of a pair of spectacles.

Caimans eat a variety of aquatic invertebrates, for example, insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. As they grow, various vertebrates take up a greater percentage of the diet; these include fish, amphibians, reptiles, and water birds. Older animals are capable of taking larger, mammalian prey (e.g. wild pigs). They are virtually harmless to humans, although they may bite* if harassed.

Although not on the endangered list, a good antique taxidermy caiman specimen like this is still pretty uncommon here in the UK. How this lady got here is unclear, for when trying to coax information of her past out of her she becomes agitated and seems to have a permanent snarl fixed onto her face. We hope you fair better in conversation than we have.

*We cannot guarantee this specimen will not bite its eventual owner.

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