Rio Cauca Caecilian (Typhlonectes natans)


You can find our caecilians in the Flooded Forest in Tropical House.

Fast facts

Status Least Concern

Size 250–725 mm

Weight 60–114 g

Gestation 7 months

Young 1-11

Life span 13 years

What do I eat?

Not much is known about the diet of wild Rio Cauca caecilians, but they are thought to be scavengers and predators. In Colombia and Venezuela they have been seen feeding on fish entrails which had been left in the water by fishermen.

Where do I live?

Rio Cauca caecilians are aquatic amphibians. They are found in flood plains and rivers, marshes and lakes in western and northern Colombia and western Venezuela. They are able to endure major declines in their water quality and can survive in polluted water.       


This species is oviviparous, which means that the young develop in eggs within the mother’s body. They hatch inside her body and are born live. The foetuses of Rio Cauca caecilians develop large gills which drop off a few hours after birth. This species of caecilian is thought to breed during the wet season.


Rio Cauca caecilians don’t currently face any major threats. They are caught for the international pet trade, but not at a level which presents a threat to the species. These caecilians are widespread and can tolerate a significant deterioration in the quality of their habitat. They are also found in some protected areas. 

Did you know?

Female Rio Cauca caecilians in captivity have been found to double their weight before they give birth.

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Very Happy Day

My 13 year old son and I had a super day out at Marwell today. We are regular visitors, but hadn't been for a while and thought the new tropical centre with the sloth, mouse deer, exotic birds and tiny monkeys was outstanding. We were also very lucky to see nearly… Read full reviewSally, 13th April 2018