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Planet Earth

This Baby Caiman is Riding in Style

Just-hatched baby caimans ride in mom's mouth down to the waterfront.

By Bill AndrewsNovember 6, 2013 9:00 PM
riding-in-style.jpg
Mark MacEwen/naturepl.com

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A maternal broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) carries its baby safely within its mouth at a farm for these threatened alligator relatives in Santa Fe, Argentina. 

“The mother would hear the baby caimans calling from the nest as they began to hatch, at which point we observed her digging out the nest and collecting her babies in ones and twos and carrying them very gently into the water shallows,” photographer Mark MacEwen says. 

Environmental factors like rainfall and temperature influence the ratios of male-to-female caiman hatchlings, making the gender balance dependent on shifts in climate.

[This article originally appeared in print as "Riding in Style."]

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