Spectacled caimans rarely come out of the water, only attacking land animals when they come to the water's edge. They spend the day floating on the surface and hunt mainly at night. During periods of druoght, they aestivate - enter a period of dormancy to avoid desiccation - in cool burrows dug deep into mud.
The breeding season coincides with the wet season in May and June. The dominant males get the best territories and attract most females. Females lay eggs in mounds of vegetation that they build on banks or rafts of plants. Several females may lay eggs in a single nest, which they guard together. The young live in large groups called creches.