Another unique and interesting friendship between a wild reptile and a man, like the famous story of Chito and Pocho. This Japanese man, named Nobumitsu Murabayashi, keeps a giant caiman as a pet, and even walks with him in the town center of Kure City, Hiroshima, Japan – with the permission of the city hall.
The gentle giant (2.1 meters/6.88 feet 10 in and 46 kg/101 lbs) lives inside Mr. Murabayashi’s home with him. They’re actually living together since 1982 when Mr. Murabayashi has purchased the caiman (and named him also “Caiman”). This is also interesting because as of 2017, they’re leaving together for almost 35 years. There is very little known about the lifespan of Caiman crocodilus, but the longest known lifespan in the wild was estimated at about 60 years old. However, 30 to 40 years might be more normal. The average captive lifespan is 20 years. Mr. Murabayashi says “I heard they could live over 70 years. I am already 65. So I need to try hard to live another 30 years”.
“I always try to communicate with him by brushing his teeth, etc. Every day. My wife is fed up with me. So I am spending days playing with him.”
In the video below, Mr. Murabayashi is walking with the caiman in his home city. Even the children from the kindergarten play and take photos with him.
A caiman is an alligatorid crocodilian belonging to the subfamily Caimaninae, one of two primary lineages within Alligatoridae, the other being alligators. They are native to Central and South America. They are close to alligators but relatively small in size – with the exception of the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), which can grow more than 5 meters (16 ft) in length and weigh up to 1,100 kg (2,400 lb). The average length for most of the other caiman species is about 2 meters to 2.5 meters long.
Mr. Murabayashi’s caiman is a male spectacled caiman, (Caiman crocodilus), also known as the white caiman or common caiman. They can be found in much of Central and South America and live in a range of lowland wetland and riverine habitat types and can tolerate saltwater as well as freshwater. Due in part to this adaptability, it is the most common of all crocodilian species.
Spectacled caiman is a small to medium-sized crocodilian. Males of the species are generally 1.8 to 2 m (5.9 to 6.6 ft), while females are smaller, usually around 1.2-1.4 m (3.9-4.6 ft). So, Mr. Murabayashi’s pet is a really big one. The body mass of most adults is between 7 and 40 kg (15 and 88 lb). The maximum reported size for the species is 2.5 m (8.2 ft), with a body mass of 58 kg (128 lb).