Jaguar Turns Into an Olympic Diver and Plunges Off a Cliff to Catch a Caiman Crocodile

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Written by Colby Maxwell

Updated: November 10, 2023

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Fastest Cats - Jaguar
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Key Points:

  • The Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, are home to the largest population of jaguars in the world.
  • Jaguars are known to have the strongest bite force of any cat and can easily take a caiman.
  • Jaguars are known to be good swimmers but are also excellent divers that can hit their prey with astonishing accuracy from great heights.

If you thought jaguars were only good at hunting on land, think again. A stunning video captured by a wildlife photographer shows a jaguar demonstrating its 10/10 diving skills as it leaps off a tall tree branch and plunges into a river to catch a caiman.

Jaguar Hunting Technique Uses Three Amazing Skills at Once

The video, which has gone viral on social media, was filmed in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil, home to the largest population of jaguars in the world. The jaguar in the video is known as Ára Mirim, which translates to “little star. She is the daughter of Kyra, a famous jaguar who has been featured in several documentaries.

Largest Jaguar - Jaguar Header

Jaguars are the top predators in Central and South America and can take down almost any prey.

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The video begins with Ára Mirim perched on a tree branch, eyeing a caiman swimming near the middle of a large river, a pretty safe distance from the shore (or so it thought). In the lead-up to the video, the jaguar patiently waits for the right moment to strike while the caiman sits totally oblivious to the danger in the treetops. Then, in a split second, she launches herself into the air, dropping down at least 25 feet, and dives headfirst into the water.

The impact creates a huge splash that obscures the view for a few seconds, but when the water clears, we see Ára Mirim emerge with the caiman clamped in her powerful jaws. She swims back to the shore, dragging her prey along. She then delivers a fatal bite to the caiman’s neck, ending its struggle.

A Jaguars Incredible Jaws

Strongest cats - Jaguar

Jaguars have the strongest bite force of any big cat.

©iStock.com/Patryk_Kosmider

The caiman is almost as big as her, but she has no trouble devouring it. Jaguars are known to have the strongest bite force of any cat, and they use that incredible strength to kill caimans, some of the toughest creatures out there. Most of the time, jaguars will bite the caiman near the back of the skull or just totally crush the skull itself, ending the fight pretty quickly.

Jaguars are opportunistic predators that will eat almost anything they can catch, including fish, turtles, capybaras, deer, and even anacondas. The video was able to capture an incredibly rare technique used to hunt, but as the description of the video explains, this group of related jaguars seems to have perfected the tree-top technique.


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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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