This South American turtle is famous for the mass gatherings of females that come ashore to lay their eggs, often a hundred at a time. Otherwise, these plant-eaters hardly ever leave the water. Females are much larger than males, reaching a shell length of three feet. Because their eggs and flesh have long been prized as food, they have been subject to overhunting, and are now classified as Conservation Dependent.
In North America, the Teiid family of lizards is represented by rather small racerunners and whiptails, which have the appearance of “typical lizards”. In South America, Teiids occur in much greater variety. One of the most specialized is the semi-aquatic Caiman lizard, named for its crocodilian-like scales. Growing up to four feet long, often with a bright orange head contrasting with a greenish body, it might present a ferocious appearance. Its diet, however, consists almost entirely of snails, which it crushes with enormous molar-like teeth.