Weeks after it published a series of images showing a large jaguar stalking and attacking a caiman in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands, National Geographic released exclusive video footage of the ultra-stealthy, super-efficient strike.
(The video is a shortened version, showing the cat as it begins its swim toward the unsuspecting reptile, which is resting on a bank. The full video, also worth watching, can be viewed here.)
It’s worth noting, for those who may be squeamish, that there is no visible blood. The caiman was immobilized almost instantly with a single bite to the skull, in an assault so effective that there was almost no posibility of the jaguar being injured in a struggle. (Jaguars, which are prolific swimmers, boast the most powerful bite of all large cats.)
“This guy knew his business,” scientist Luke Dollar told National Geographic. “This guy got right in the thickest part of the brain case and sunk those teeth in, and that’s pretty amazing when you consider that a caiman’s brain is probably the size of a walnut.” (Dollar is also the video narrator.)
This rarely-witnessed event was videotaped by Kedar Hippalgaonkar and his wife, Parul Jain. The Northern California couple was in a small boat with SouthWind Adventures.
It was the third jaguar they had seen, an animal affectionately referred to by locals as Mick Jaguar.
Nobody expected to witness predation of such a large reptile (jaguars also eat deer and other mammals), but it became clear that the animal was hunting once it crouched and began to cautiously inch its way along the river bank.
“He’s just crawling first, and then you can see him sort of in hunt mode,” Hippalgaonkar said. “You know he’s definitely going for something. Which is why we decided to wait there, before all the other boats came.”
What was astonishing to the couple was the absolute silence of the cat, even as it walked through water close to the bank, and as it swam toward its prey. (Caimans, which are related to alligators, can reach lengths of 15 feet and they’re also master ambushers.)
Hippalgaonkar said the boat pilot, who routinely watches jaguars in the region, had never witnessed an attack so perfectly executed.
But then, what else would you expect from an animal named Mick Jaguar?