Visitors at a beach in Brazil witnessed a pretty terrifying scene earlier this week when thousands of crocodiles “invaded” the area.
One Twitter user shared a video of the reptile beach trip. “In Brazil, an invasion of crocodiles that have flooded one of the beaches with several hundred, even thousands, and the local population is panicking.”
While responding to the video, another user on the social media platform revealed the creatures were not crocodiles. “These are yacare caiman, and like other crocodilians, they’re ectothermic, or ‘cold-blooded.’ To raise their body temperature, they venture onto land, exposing themselves to direct sunlight.”
The user went on to share that the beach isn’t a coastal beach. He shared a clip of the longer version of the video. “It’s in the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil, which are about 10 times the size of the Everglades and home to 10 million caimans, and these are yacare caimans gathering around a water hole during the dry season to fish and cool down.”
Meanwhile, Twitter user “DrWildLife” also wrote that the reptiles aren’t actually not causing any panic after all. “This ‘beach’ is part of the Pantanal aka the largest tropical wetland, as well as perhaps the most pristine, in the world. Oh, and these are not crocodiles – they are Yacare caiman.”
Crocodiles and Yacare Caiman Are Very Common in Brazil
According to WWF, caimans are notably the smaller cousin of crocodiles. They typically range from 3.9 to 6.6 feet in length. They are usually frequent visitors in freshwater habitats. This includes mangrove swamps and some saltwater environments.
“Caimans remain camouflaged beneath the water’s surface, as they intake breath through their raised nostrils,” WWF explained. The Caimans’ scales blend into their surroundings when they are hunting. “Despite their concealment, caimans, as well as crocodiles, face threats from the outside world,” the organization stated. “As humans hunt them for their skins, their habitats are degraded, and their nests are destroyed by people and predators such as foxes, dogs, and basilisk lizards.”
Meanwhile, WWF said that crocodiles are biologically complex. They are also devoted to their offspring. “Despite origins tracing back to the time of the dinosaurs, the crocodile has a highly developed brain with a cerebral cortex, which other reptiles lack. Parents are dedicated nurturers, caring for their hatchlings for more than one year.”
ScienceTimes further reported that the Pantanal is home to 4,700 species of plants and animals. It was considered South America’s highest concentration of wildlife species. Among the animals that live in the Pantanal are jaguars and caiman. There are approximately 10 million caimans in the Pantanal region. So the caimans on the beach aren’t anything out of the ordinary for that region, as noted by multiple scientists.