Caimens

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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Dec 4, 2006
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anyone have any experience raising caimens? spotted or dwarf..but im particularly interested in dwarfs. housing size? what all do you put in the tank? experiences? just a general discussion kinda thing. :D
 

Hedorah99

Arachnoprince
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anyone have any experience raising caimens? spotted or dwarf..but im particularly interested in dwarfs. housing size? what all do you put in the tank? experiences? just a general discussion kinda thing. :D
Let me just put in my 2 cents and say, don't buy one. They don't calm down, they get fairly large and require a lot more space than you would think. Even a four foot one would require a large enough pool to full submerge itself, turn around, and an equally large land area to bask. If you are wondering whate experience I have, I am a zoo keeper and have worked with dwarf, spectacled, and broad snouted caimen. Basically, none of the crocodilian family make good pets.
 

Varden

Arachnodemon
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Not to mention you can pretty much kiss your home-owners insurance good bye. Once they find out you've got a dangerous animal that can and will eat neighborhood pets and possibly small children, your rates will go through the roof or be cancelled all together.
 

Crotalus

Arachnoking
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If you have the knowledge in caring for one, why not. I dont see reptiles or arachnids overall as "pets" like a dog or cat.
However crocodilians require lots of space so if you have the space to install a large pool with extremely powerful filtration which cost alot - go for it.
 

Hedorah99

Arachnoprince
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If you have the knowledge in caring for one, why not. I dont see reptiles or arachnids overall as "pets" like a dog or cat.
However crocodilians require lots of space so if you have the space to install a large pool with extremely powerful filtration which cost alot - go for it.
I agree with this somewhat. We had some rescued alligators at the zoo. The guy had converted his entire basement into a habitat for them. It had a large heated pool, lots of ultra violet lighting, plenty of basking space, and a really good filter. The gators were taken because of zoning laws. He got them back eventually but had to move with them to Pennsylvania. He was pretty much the exception. Everyone else I have seen with private ownership of a caimen or alligator had them in a dirty tank with no filter, no basking spots, and no idea of how pissant mean they got. It usually winds up being put down by animal control or they release them and I have to get them or they die of exposure. Truthfully it would be a neat animal to have, if you could meet it's living requirements.
 

brandi

Arachnoknight
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Hey Hedora... what zoo do you work for? I worked reptiles for Phoenix until about 2 years ago.

I have to agree with you, caimen are not fun to keep. They are very, very dirty, so you will need to spend serious $$$ on a good filtration system. You are basically looking at converting your whole back yard into their enclosure.

Specs, in my experience, grow fast and get nastier as they get bigger. Not a pleasant animal to deal with. Dwarfs don't get as big, but will still need a pool they can swim in and land area to bask and walk around (back yard size). Remember these animals also have an incredible turn of speed, and can snag you before you even realize you've been hit. (Jaws, tail, or claws)

If you absolutely must have a crocodilian, if you do have the space and experience to deal with one, not to mention the money to cover housing and feeding... Then get a good old american alligator. They aren't nearly so nasty and some can even become somewhat trained. Note that is *trained* not *tamed*. They also grow more slowly, giving you time to excavate your back yard.

Needless to say, the first thing you should look into are the game and fish regs in your area, urban wildlife laws, homeowners insurance, and your friendly neighborhood homeowner's association CCRs.

Good luck!
 

EAD063

Arachnoprince
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We took care of one in an aquatic biology class. We kept a juvenile on a 100 gallon river tank that was more than a third full. The river setup was the filter and worked pretty efficently. About 3 inches of gravel with 2 perches, not including the river setup which took up about half the tank but was at an angle where it didn't affect the space too much. The only problem we had was no matter what we did the gold fish found a way to hide behind the bulky river setup/fliter. So a lot of times we had to feeder him with hemostats. To make it easier, on cleaning days, which was once or twice a week, we'd toss a couple in there and then siphon the water out and he'd gobble them up. When he got bigger ( A LOT BIGGER ). We sketched up a habitat and went out and bought the supplies. We ended up makeing an 8 x 18x 18 wooden box with plexi glass on two sides. The floor was raised up and there was a very large plastic koi pond tub tucked to one side with astroturf surrounding, some logs and rocks and 3 basking lights. It came out very well, but my conclusion was that I would rather keep it in the lab and not in my home, lol. They do get pretty big and in a closed enviroment they can be unmanageable, especially if it gets injured or something happens to the tank and it needs to be removed. The ones you see in the pet store are babies and if they get bigger the pet stores sends them back because they often are unmanageable like I said. F/E a pet store down the road has had one for forever and now it's in a 15x15 fenced in pen with a 6 inch foundation wall made of stone to hold the water... it smells like the dickens. Cool place, they also breed tourtesis, a number of birds and fish, and of course, snakes.


Ed
 

Crotalus

Arachnoking
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Hedorah,
I agree, if you keep them in filthy conditions you should not own them. But that goes for all animals. Its just that some animals are harder to fulfil their requirements such as space etc. But its not impossible if you got the time, money and space.
 

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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Dec 4, 2006
Messages
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Hey Hedora... what zoo do you work for? I worked reptiles for Phoenix until about 2 years ago.

I have to agree with you, caimen are not fun to keep. They are very, very dirty, so you will need to spend serious $$$ on a good filtration system. You are basically looking at converting your whole back yard into their enclosure.

Specs, in my experience, grow fast and get nastier as they get bigger. Not a pleasant animal to deal with. Dwarfs don't get as big, but will still need a pool they can swim in and land area to bask and walk around (back yard size). Remember these animals also have an incredible turn of speed, and can snag you before you even realize you've been hit. (Jaws, tail, or claws)

If you absolutely must have a crocodilian, if you do have the space and experience to deal with one, not to mention the money to cover housing and feeding... Then get a good old american alligator. They aren't nearly so nasty and some can even become somewhat trained. Note that is *trained* not *tamed*. They also grow more slowly, giving you time to excavate your back yard.

Needless to say, the first thing you should look into are the game and fish regs in your area, urban wildlife laws, homeowners insurance, and your friendly neighborhood homeowner's association CCRs.

Good luck!
they are no game and fish regs. on crocodilians in tennessee. no laws against owning them...not even a permit is needed. i dont have a home owners association where i live. i have a nice big back yard that i would trasfer the baby to when it got bigger. as far as my homeowners insurance goes...i dont know about that...ill have to check on that.
 

Midnightrdr456

Arachnoprince
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what about weather in tennessee? If you build it in your back yard how cold does it get in the winter (i know its not like maine or anything but still might be colder than a Caimen would be used to)
 

Mushroom Spore

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what about weather in tennessee? If you build it in your back yard how cold does it get in the winter (i know its not like maine or anything but still might be colder than a Caimen would be used to)
I'm in TN, and it can easily hit the teens at the nastiest times, seems to average in the 30s-40s. We've just had a freakishly warm winter, though, long periods around 70. It was awesome. :cool: Temps are dropping back to "normal" now, alas.
 

brandi

Arachnoknight
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Oh that's going to be tough in TN... probably why you don't have restrictions on them... its gets so cold they wouldn't survive the winter if they excaped/ were released.

If you have the means to keep them, and an indoor space for the winter (they need basking up to the 90's) and you are ok with the dangers, go for it. I still say start with a gator. They are much better tempered, especially if you work with them, and I think they handle the cool weather a little better.

One thing you might consider though, is checking out your local rescues before making a purchase. Check with your game and fish dept to see who they use as their wildlife re-habbers. A lot of times, rescues have animals that owners dumped b/c they couldn't take care of any more. (too big/ expensive/ dangerous)

:)
 

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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Messages
437
Oh that's going to be tough in TN... probably why you don't have restrictions on them... its gets so cold they wouldn't survive the winter if they excaped/ were released.

If you have the means to keep them, and an indoor space for the winter (they need basking up to the 90's) and you are ok with the dangers, go for it. I still say start with a gator. They are much better tempered, especially if you work with them, and I think they handle the cool weather a little better.

One thing you might consider though, is checking out your local rescues before making a purchase. Check with your game and fish dept to see who they use as their wildlife re-habbers. A lot of times, rescues have animals that owners dumped b/c they couldn't take care of any more. (too big/ expensive/ dangerous)

:)


awsome! thanks for the suggestions!!!! one question though...how would i get in contact with them to find out about rescues? as most of our parks in this area are closed for winter.
 

brandi

Arachnoknight
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Oct 19, 2004
Messages
155
Google my friend... Google... http://www.state.tn.us/twra/

Call them up, ask who they recommend who works with crocodillians. Also a good idea, if you can find someone in your area... go volunteer for the rescue for a few months before you get your pet. Often these organizations are hurting for volunteers willing and able to work with these animals, and it gives you an opportunity to work with them before you own one so you can learn about the husbandry, the issues facing these animals (ie, why they are at the rescue in the first place) and also allows you to connect and network with people who know a lot more about these animals - a great living information resource.

Once you get the chance to work with them on a volunteer basis, you will have a much better understanding of what you would be getting yourself into by owning one.

Good luck!
 
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