Caimans have something us herpers call eye shine. Most herps have it, whenever you point a light at them, their eyes reflect back and look bright. The caimans have amazingly bright eye shine. It looks like you’re coming up on the back of a bicycle or something, it’s so bright. Caimans are also pretty inactive as far as I can tell. From what I have seen, they just sit in the water and either sun bathe or hold their mouths open for food to come in. I will go out to the dock with extra bread to feed our station caiman Frank, who just happens to appear right when I start throwing bread. He’s really pretty smart because all the fish attack the bread and Frank just sits there waiting for the inevitable fish to flash by his mouth then snap! What a life. So it is pretty easy to see a caiman just floating on the side of the canal. But anyway, we all load up on a boat and go riding down the canal with good flashlights. We just point them in the front and on the sides to be able to see them sitting in the water. Once we spot one, we float on over and gather coordinates, and size (juvenile, adult, etc.).
The caiman census I went on was not super active. We saw three total, two that were already close to the station dock. The reason for us not seeing many could vary but it was chilly that night so the weather is the expected culprit. However, it is also possible that we just did not see them because of poor eyesight, and maybe vegetation was in the way? You never know. Hopefully the next one is more exciting, but the boat ride in itself is pretty fun. I love the canal. The water was so calm it looked like a mirror reflecting the trees perfectly.