A Hungry Jaguar Hugs A Giant Caiman For Lunch During A Long Fierce Battle
Jaguars are the biggest and burliest of the New World’s big cats, and rank third behind lions and tigers among the largest in the world. Packed in muscle and wielding some of the strongest jaws for their size in the cat family, they sit comfortably atop the Neotropical food web, and while elusive as heck, they sometimes permit human beings to witness them fulfil their trophic status in dramatic fashion.
This is moment shows a jaguar taking down what Brunsκιʟʟ called in a Facebook post “the biggest jacare caiman I have ever seen during my time on the river in Pantanal”.
The shoreline struggle between big cat and (big) caiman lasted some 20 minutes, but this wasn’t exactly a tit-for-tat battle: it was a predatory exercise by a born-and-bred crocodilian-hunter.
Brunsκιʟʟ’s epic photos show the jaguar administering some fierce throat chokeholds, that the κιʟʟing bite – in typical jaguar fashion – was delivered to the back of the caiman’s skull. This is how these low-slung, rosette-splattered, heavy-headed bruisers commonly dispatch larger prey, from capybaras to the odd black bear.
Brunsκιʟʟ said the jaguar, which he tracked for roughly an hour before it nabbed its reptilian repast, had made an unsuccessful sortie upon a group of capybara (the biggest rodents on earth) not long before.
Brunsκιʟʟ’s amazing image series, though, may just take the cake in terms of the relative size of the jaguar’s scaly saurian meal, which the carnivore nonetheless manages to haul off into the tangles quite handily.
Caimans, after all, aren’t incidental meals for jaguars, but rather linchpin prey items in many areas of the cats’ range, including the flooded bottomland rainforests of the Amazon Basin and the great marshlands of the Pantanal, among the planet’s biggest wetlands.