Caimans, as members of the family Alligatoridae, are similar to alligators in appearance. Their bodies feature a standard crocodilian form, with bony scutes along their back, a long powerful tail to aid in swimming, and a long snout full of sharp teeth.
Like alligators, caimans usually have broad snouts that look U-shaped from above, as opposed to crocodile snouts that are typically more V-shaped. Their teeth are sharper than those of alligators, and their hides are tougher.
Most caiman species, on average, are smaller than other crocodilians, with the smallest being Cuvier’s dwarf caiman, that measures just five feet in length when fully grown. Most species average around eight feet. The largest species, the black caiman, can reach lengths of up to 16 feet, which rivals the American alligator in size.