Watch a Fearless Jaguar Catch a Caiman in Their Own Habitat

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: October 24, 2022
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This is a perfect illustration of just how versatile jaguars are when it comes to hunting. Whilst many big cats are limited to hunting prey by chasing them on open plains, the jaguar has a different approach. This amazing feline will hunt on the ground, in bushes, and in water. And when we say “hunt in water,” we don’t mean lingering on the shore and pouncing on fish in the shallow pools! A jaguar will swim out into the water and, as we see here, will wrestle with animals that are just as long as they are.

Jaguar vs Caiman

In this particular clip, we see a jaguar wade into the water and then quickly dive under to take a caiman by surprise. There is a brief but frantic struggle under the water and then the jaguar has to surface to take a deep breath. After some more underwater struggles and some more deep breaths from the jaguar, the big cat prevails. They use their sheer power and strength to haul the large reptile out of the water by grasping it at the back of its neck.

The unlucky reptile is then dragged to a secluded area so that the big cat can enjoy their meal in peace.

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Jaguars are the third largest big cat on the planet behind the lion and the tiger. They are both powerful and agile and have a stunning spotted coat which helps with camouflage. Even though they look similar to the leopard, they are found in different areas and they are heavier and stockier.

This species primarily inhabits the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Their habitat is now confined to pockets of rainforests and many of these are in the Amazon Basin.

They prefer thick and dense jungle environments and they rely on vegetation cover so that they can hide and ambush their prey. It’s common to find them close to water and this could be swampland or areas of forest that are flooded seasonally. Their numbers are threatened by habitat loss and poachers.

Strongest animal bite – jaguar
Jaguars are the third largest big cat on the planet behind the lion and the tiger.


Caiman as Pray

Caiman are found in the wetlands of Central and South America.  They are not currently endangered but their habitats are under threat and they are hunted by humans for their meat and skin.

As a large reptile, they have very few predators once they reach adulthood. As young animals, however, they are hunted by large birds and snakes, wild cats, and wild pigs.

The one animal that is willing to hunt an adult caiman is a jaguar. And, as we see from this vid, they can make a fantastic job of it!

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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