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Lézard Caïman © François-Gilles Grandin - MNHN

The northern caiman or dracaena lizard

The northern caiman lizard, also called dracaena, Dracaena guianensis, is one of the largest lizards on the American continent.


Class, order and family :
Reptilia, Squamata, Teiidae
Life span :
up to 30 years in captivity
Size & Weight :
60 - 120 cm and 1.5 – 2.7 kg
Incubation period :
3 - 6 months for around ten eggs
Natural habitat :
near streams
Diet :
Native region :
Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Brazil
Statut UICN : 

Least Concern (LC)


An arboreal animal, it spends the day in water and hides in the trees at night. An excellent swimmer, this large lizard looks like a small caiman and feeds on crustaceans and particularly snails.


At the Parc Zoologique de Paris, it is fed brown snails, the same ones which grace restaurant tables.