Next to lions and tigers, jaguars are the largest cats in the world. And since there are no lions and tigers in the Americas, that makes jaguars the biggest cats in the Americas.
They can grow to lengths of up to about 6-feet long and on average can get up to as much as 200-pounds. Imagine your house cat but 20 times the size.
Jaguars mostly inhabit South and Central America, but their populations are recovering through Mexico as well. Historically their native range also included Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and even parts of Louisiana and California as well.
There has been discussion recently regarding the idea of reintroducing jaguars to the southwest part of the United States, but I’m thinking hard pass on that.
I mean, do I want to have to worry about jaguars mauling me while I ride a donkey down to the Grand Canyon? I don’t think so…
The spotted pattern of their fur not only looks really cool, but it actually serves as camouflage when they’re hunting in dense shadowy forests and swamps. Jaguars are some of the most fierce hunters on the planet, with a bite strong enough to crush the shells of turtles and tortoises, and as we’re gonna see here in a minute, the tough skin of alligators and crocs.
And here’s the thing… unlike most cats, they do not fear the water and are frequently willing to jump in the water to make a kill. In fact, they move so quietly in the water it almost reminds of that (kinda corny) scene in Act Of Valor when the SEALS catch the falling body from the water.
Usually, it’s gators, crocs and caimans attacking animals on the shore, however for this swimming jaguar, the tables are turned.
“When a jaguar pounces, sometimes one bite is all it takes to get a meal. National Geographic has exclusive video of a jaguar taking down a caiman in Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands, photos of which went viral earlier this month.
Luke Dollar, a conservation scientist who helps manage National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, explains the hunt and explosive moment of predation.”
This sneaky jungle kitty made short work of this caiman.