It is best that you purchase a captive bred dwarf caiman from legit breeders. You can actually purchase from several sources such as specialist pet stores (although it might be a bit more expensive), private breeders (make sure they have proper documents), breeders recommended by hobbyist reptile magazines, reptile conventions as well as your local herpetological society. There are a lot of dwarf caiman collections in herp societies because this is where dwarf caiman’s usually ends up once their owners gets bored with them or could not take care of them for some reason.
It may cost you a little extra dollars but it is worth it because you will be assured that your dwarf caiman is healthy and doesn’t have any illnesses or transmitted diseases unlike if you are going to just purchase from backyard or unknown breeders. Aside from that it will also benefit captive breeding programs, and will help them to further breed healthy caimans in the future.
If you choose to buy from a backyard breeder, you may not be certain about its health, and these dwarf caimans that are caught in the wild may be endangered already. You may risk from the issues of importation damages – these are animals that are illegally imported from the wild every year and are usually in poor health condition.
These wild dwarf caimans may also have difficulty in adjusting to a captive life. It is also not recommended that you buy from local pet stores (you should buy from pet stores specializing in reptiles) because most of it is only selling dwarf caimans for profit and most often than not some of these creatures are in poor condition because they are living in an unhealthy environment.
The needs of dwarf caimans in general are overlooked by pet stores, and if you buy from them for the sole reason that you want to rescue the animal from an inadequate environment, the store will only replace it or re-stock it with another dwarf caimans without investing in proper care, and without improving environmental conditions, that is why it is better if you give your money to legitimate captive breeding programs.
Before purchasing you should also first identify if the dwarf caiman crocodilian is a captive breed or caught in the wild. Another important tip is to verify with the seller or provider the kind of species or the kind of dwarf caiman you are purchasing in order to make sure that you are getting the appropriate species so you can also give it the appropriate care.
If your provider is unsure then you may ask a reputable source or an expert in dwarf caiman crocs to identify the kind of breed you want to buy.
Aside from local pet stores, legitimate breeders, and reptile conventions, you can also get referrals on where you can purchase a healthy dwarf caimans from several forums online or online communities. These communities usually have contacts, has history information regarding responsible breeding, and you can also get ideas on how to properly care for your new pet croc.