It crawls onto a sandbank and pounces on its prey, swimming silently through the dark water.
This is the astonishing moment in western Brazil when a jaguar begins a savage attack on an unsuspecting caiman resting in the sun.
The 20-stone cat was seen on camera following the cold-blooded lizard along the Cuiaba River in the Pantanal Wetlands as it rested on a sandbank.
It was seen swimming across the river quietly before sliding onto the little island and sinking its teeth and claws into its prey’s back.
The terrified Yacare caiman was then clung to as it squirmed about, ultimately capturing its leathery body in its muscular jaws. ‘He grabbed the 150-pound caiman from the ground and tossed it into the river like a dog bone,’ said photographer Justin Black, 39, who recorded the incident on camera.
It’s astonishing that he attacked from the water; it reminded me of crocodiles attacking land animals in Africa.’ When Mr. Black, of Washington, D.C., and fellow photographer Jeff Foott were on a boat, they spotted the jaguar pursuing the caiman.
He stated, ‘He approached the narrow waterway carefully and swam up exactly behind the caiman, keeping his profile as low as possible.’ ‘ He sprang out of the water and onto the back of the caiman, swinging his right paw’s claws into its side.
He then grabbed the caiman with his left paw and tried a lethal bite at the caiman’s back, but he didn’t have the right angle. His momentum carried them both into the water, where he adjusted himself and gripped the back of the caiman’s neck with his teeth.
‘He then pulled the caiman into the water broadside, swimming in front of them and producing a bow wave.’ When he got at the opposite shore, he quickly fled into the grasses with his target.’
Scientists have given the battle-scarred jaguar the nickname ‘Mick Jaguar.’ He’s seven years old and virtually blind in his right eye, the result of countless conflicts defending his territory. Jaguars are thought to number between 4,000 and 7,000 in the Pantanal, according to scientists.
They’ve honed their skills at killing caimans and hunting throughout the day, surprising the cold-blooded reptiles while they sunbathe. They are also the largest and most strong jaguars in South America, allowing them to kill larger prey.