Vintage Caiman Illustration

Oddly enough, alligators, lizards and snakes were all once considered to be in the same order of reptiles – Sauriens. Apparently, when Jean-Charles Chenu (1808-1879) included this fine fellow in hisĀ Encyclopedie d’histoire naturelle, he too placed him among the snakes.

That said, this vintage caiman illustration from 1856, still merits attention. He sits along a bank at the edge of some waterway. Basking in the sun, in a tropical clime, if the palm trees are any indication. Some of these vintage engravings capture so much more detail. After all, they couldn’t rely upon colors to add the features of each of the animals. How real his eyes look and yet, the artist used only black and grey to create them.

While I wouldn’t want to meet one of these fellows in the wild, this vintage caiman illustration makes this cousin of the alligator almost sweet.

Like so many of Chenu’s wonderful illustrations, this one was available in a fairly large size. To access the largest size we have, just click on the fellow smiling at you below.


vintage caiman illustration

This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.