ANIMAL: Kaup’s Caecilian Potamotyphlus kaupii Type of Animal: Caecilian Habitat: Freshwater river & drainage systems, can be found in altitudes as high as 1,640.42 ft Location(s): Amazon River/surrounding areas, Orinoco River/surrounding areas, & Guianas Appearance: Limbless gray to brown amphibian, looks like aquatic snake/eel (but not reptile or fish), laterally compressed body makes it look like segmented worm Food/Diet: Earthworms, insects, small fish, shrimp Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, aquariums, herpetoculture, & aquaculture Lifestyle: Small groups of 4-8 individuals Additional Info: Called: Male Females Young: Larva Group: Colony Weight: Male: 1 oz Female: 3 oz Gestation: 6-7 months Life Span: 4-5 years Body Length: Male: 1 ft Female: 2 ft Young: 0.5 ft Main predators are birds, fish, snakes, & mammals. Unlike many amphibians, they’re ovoviviparous, w/ eggs developing inside mom’s body, coming out as live young. Usually 1-11 live young born. Like most amphibians, they breathe through skin. These amphibians are regularly caught in shrimp traps. Only species in genus Potamotyphlus. These caecilians are entirely aquatic & spend entire lives in water. They often wait patiently for prey. They’ll often wiggle in place to create water flow. Tentacles on head help them find food/sense predators/feel surroundings. They move similar to worms. They swallow prey whole. Peg-like teeth used to grip/tear prey. Adults can hold breath for 30 minutes at a time. Mating involves male inserting penis-like organ (phallodeum) into female cloaca for 2-3 hours. Since they’re basically blind, they hunt using smell. Hearing also quite poor. Fun Fact(s): Name Caecilian comes from Latin word “caecus” meaning blind, since eyes tiny & they’re basically blind. While basically being blind, they can tell difference between light & dark. Occasionally kept as pets & due to eel-like appearance/aquatic habits, sometimes sold as fish.