See a Powerful Jaguar Flip the Script and Drag a Huge Caiman Underwater

caimon closeup
Russell Smith / Flickr

Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Updated: September 29, 2023

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The ultimate battle between two fierce predators, a jaguar and a caiman!

In this video clip, a jaguar takes on a caiman in a struggle for survival. The short video begins with the jaguar holding the reptile by the neck. A lot of the fight that follows takes place underwater. Both jaguar and caiman appear to be exhausted and each is trying to outlast the other. The jaguar holds the other predator under the surface of the water, pouncing on it when needed to keep it from coming up for air.

Crocodiles and caimans can hold their breath underwater for long periods of time. But if the animal is injured or worn out, this can impact its ability to survive underwater. Clearly, the jaguar is counting on this to defeat its foe. A few times in the video, the jaguar has to put its body underwater as well in order to keep the other animal from escaping. This is risky for the animal who can’t hold its breath as long. But it pays off for him in the end and the caiman is defeated. The jaguar pulls the drowned animal onto the shore and into the grass.

This video was captured in Brazil’s Pantanal region. This is the largest tropical wetland in the world. So it’s not surprising that both of these animals live in this area since they are equally comfortable in wetlands. It extends through parts of Brazil as well as into Paraguay and Bolivia.

Power of Jaguars: A young female jaguar coils her powerful muscles to leap onto the river bank. She's the image of grace in action, water splashing, tail out, beautiful.

Jaguars are very comfortable taking on other animals in the water, even the fierce caiman.

Is a Caiman a Crocodile?

Caimans and crocodiles are related but two different species. In fact, they belong to two distinct scientific family groups. Caimans belong to the Alligatoridae family while crocodiles are part of the crocodylidae family. Both animals fall under the Crocodilia order.

It is easy to confuse caimans and crocodiles by their appearance, however. One of the most noticeable differences is in their size. Caimans can get up to 19 feet long while crocodiles grow up to 25 feet long. There is some overlap in length, but crocodiles are quite a bit heftier. The largest caiman recorded was a black caiman that was around 14 feet long. The smaller reptiles weigh as much as 600 pounds on the heavy end. Crocodiles, on the other hand, can get up to 2,000 pounds. They tend to be bulkier and overall more imposing than their smaller cousins.

Caimans also have a distinct overbite that crocodiles do not have. Instead, crocodiles have a V-shaped snout that makes it look like they are smiling. Their habitats are also slightly different, although there is some overlap as well. Caimans are unique to Central and South America. Crocodiles live in these areas as well as others in the world.

Watch the Video Below


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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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