Published On: Wed, Oct 4th, 2017

BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND – MY JAGUAR JOURNEY, PART 2 OF 3

Jaguar, Panthera onca, El Jaguar (Spanish), Balam (Mayan), Onça (Brazilian Portuguese)

 

ROILING IN RIVER

 

Cat swims silently near shoreline

Caiman coming toward cat

Two bounding leaps

ATTACK!

 

Jaguar swims silently near shoreline

 

Jaguar leaps toward swimming caiman

 

 

Skull piercing

Rodeo riding

Breath holding

Rolling and roiling

 

Jaguar bites neck and skull of caiman

 

Jaguar pierces skull with canines and then attacks spinal cord

 

Jaguar rides caiman

 

Jaguar holds breath

 

Rolling and roiling

 

Vines entangling

Throat grabbing

Breath losing

Surrender to death

Vines entangle prey of jaguar

 

Caiman throat grabbed by jaguar to asphyxiate prey

 

Caiman surrrenders to death

 

Cat entangling

Blood licking

Cat carrying

Breath heaving

 

Vines continue to hold cat and caiman

 

Jaguar licks blood. Left canine exposed from prior lip injury.

 

Jaguar carries caiman until it finds a suitable place to drag the carcass up the river bank

Prey hoisting

Straddle dragging

Uphill pulling

Prey hiding

 

Jaguar catches its breath before hoisting caiman uphill

 

Jaguar straddles its prey

 

Jaguar struggles to pull prey uphill

 

Jaguar hides caiman in vegetation to feed on carcass

 

Predator Power

Strength

Skill

Survival

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Geoff Jaguar

 

Geoff Jaguar, now an 11 year old male, became habituated to boats on various rivers in the Amazon basin of the Pantanal as a cub due to his habituated mother. Easily recognizable because of an upper left lip injury, Geoff can be seen in a variety of youtube videos catching or attempting to catch prey.

 

This jaguar kill, death, and drag took less than 11 minutes. Because those overhanging vines hindered the cat from quickly hiding its prey in thick vegetation, as jaguars typically do, all of us in nearby boats had the privilege of time to observe.

 

Two observations that surprised me were how long the jaguar could hold its breath underwater during the fight. I could see parts of both species above the surface, but not the jaguar head for what seemed like ages. The second observation showed the amazing strength to hoist the carcass up a steep embankment then to drag the carcass up the hill with only the right side of its mouth!

 

Jaguars have the strongest bite of any cat and many references state it kills with one bite at the base of the neck. But after searching many articles, youtube videos, and my on-site observation, it may also use asphyxiation.

 

According to our fantastic Brazilian guide, Paulo Boute, who’s led tours for 35 years in Brazil, this attack was the first instance of a caiman kill in the river for both species. Spectacular!

 

 

GO OUTDOORS TO RECEIVE NATURE’S GIFTS AND COME BACK NEXT MONTH FOR PART THREE

LINK TO PART ONE:

BACKYARD BIRDING IN MERIDA, YUCATAN AND BEYOND – MY JAGUAR JOURNEY, PART 1 OF 3

 

 

DISCLAIMER: References do not agree on details about these species.

 

Panthera Onça

http://www.procarnivoros.org.br/pdfs/Azevedo_Murray_Spatial_organization_and_food_habits_%20jaguars.pdf

https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article/91/3/722/846646/Kill-rates-and-predation-patterns-of-jaguars 

http://www.arkive.org/jaguar/panthera-onca/video-12.html

 

Cherie Pittillo, “nature inspired,” photographer and author, explores nature everywhere she goes. She’s identified 56 bird species in her Merida, Yucatan backyard view. Her monthly column features anecdotes about birding in Merida, Yucatan and also wildlife beyond the Yucatan. Contact: all4birdies@gmail.com  All rights reserved, ©Cherie Pittillo

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