Adult Caiman Lizard, Dracaena guianensis, is a large, heavy bodied lizard that is well adapted to life in and around water. Caiman lizards are native to South America around the Amazon River Basin from Brazil, and Guyana westward to Peru and Ecuador.
While it is a relatively widespread species, little has been published about wild populations of Adult Caiman Lizard. In the past, the Caiman lizard was heavily hunted for its skin, but since protection was provided for them in the 1970s, the export has dropped and now these animals are not considered to be under the threat of extinction. One of the easiest ways to identify a Caiman lizard is by its unique color pattern.
Adult Caiman Lizard have a body that is olive to bright green in color with a red or orange colored head. The thick tail is brownish to black and may have yellow stripes. As adults, these lizards display some degree of sexual dimorphism as the male has a broader head that is brighter red in color than the female’s.
Covered in large, bony scales the skin of a Caiman lizard resembles that of a Caiman- a crocodilian species that also inhabits Central and South America. While its appearance and semi-aquatic lifestyle may suggest that that the caiman lizard is related to these crocodilians, it is actually a cousin of the Tegu and is just as well equipped for life on land and in the trees as it is for in the water.