Jaguar, Panthera onca, El Jaguar (Spanish), Balam (Mayan), Onça (Brazilian Portuguese)
ROILING IN RIVER
Cat swims silently near shoreline
Caiman coming toward cat
Two bounding leaps
Rolling and roiling
Surrender to death
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Geoff Jaguar
Geoff Jaguar, now an 11 year old male, became habituated to boats on various rivers in the Amazon basin of the Pantanal as a cub due to his habituated mother. Easily recognizable because of an upper left lip injury, Geoff can be seen in a variety of youtube videos catching or attempting to catch prey.
This jaguar kill, death, and drag took less than 11 minutes. Because those overhanging vines hindered the cat from quickly hiding its prey in thick vegetation, as jaguars typically do, all of us in nearby boats had the privilege of time to observe.
Two observations that surprised me were how long the jaguar could hold its breath underwater during the fight. I could see parts of both species above the surface, but not the jaguar head for what seemed like ages. The second observation showed the amazing strength to hoist the carcass up a steep embankment then to drag the carcass up the hill with only the right side of its mouth!
Jaguars have the strongest bite of any cat and many references state it kills with one bite at the base of the neck. But after searching many articles, youtube videos, and my on-site observation, it may also use asphyxiation.
According to our fantastic Brazilian guide, Paulo Boute, who’s led tours for 35 years in Brazil, this attack was the first instance of a caiman kill in the river for both species. Spectacular!
GO OUTDOORS TO RECEIVE NATURE’S GIFTS AND COME BACK NEXT MONTH FOR PART THREE
LINK TO PART ONE:
BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND – MY JAGUAR JOURNEY, PART 1 OF 3
DISCLAIMER: References do not agree on details about these species.
Cherie Pittillo, “nature inspired,” photographer and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 56 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her monthly column features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and also wildlife beyond the Yucatan. Contact: email@example.com All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo
7 Reactions on this Article
Holy cow wow, Cherie! Amazing! And the shot of just the jaguar’s coat and the foot of the dying caiman…contest winner.
Thanks, Dianne, for the praise. The jaguar back rolling in the river reminded me of an anaconda. And that caiman foot looked as if it waved a white flag to surrender to death.
Always unique photos! Hope it was a telephoto lens!
You did good, again, my friend!
Thanks, Carole. Quite a contrast from Peru with terrific guides and adventures. I was safe in a boat and admired how all the boatmen that never interfered with the jaguar whether swimming along the shoreline or across the river. Everyone was cooperative and patient.
What an adventure you witnessed and captured so magnificently
In pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Merle, for your constant support! Definitely an exciting adventure to have the opportunity to witness it and to photograph it.
This is the first time I’ve witnessed a jaguar kill a caiman in all the nature videos i’ve seen on PBS. It must have seemed like an eternity with both animals underwater and not gasping for air. I’m sure the on-looking bystanders must have felt a shiver as they watched from the sideline. Great photography, Cherie.
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