An amazing sequence of photos that show a jaguar attacking and killing a caiman on the banks of a river in Brazil have provided an inside look at nature's survival of the fittest predator/prey relationship.
The photos, taken Aug. 25 near Tres Irmãos River in central Brazil, tell the complete story of the jaguar stalking the caiman from a distant riverbank, swimming up to it on a sandbar, attacking it from behind, and enjoying it for lunch.
Luke Dollar, a conservation scientist who helps manage National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, narrated the attack for a National Geographic video segment.
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"This guy knew his business," said Dollar, adding that suffocating an animal with a bite to the neck is classic big-cat behavior, but caimans don’t have a discernable neck. So this jaguar, which the locals have named Mick Jaguar, went right for the skull.
"This guy got right in the thickest part of the brain case and sunk those teeth in," he said. "And that's pretty amazing when you consider a caiman’s brain is probably the size of a walnut."
Jaguars are the largest South American cats. They're good swimmers and regularly prey on fish, turtles, and caiman, according to National Geographic. They have also been known to tackle larger animals like deer, capybaras, and tapirs.
Caimans are the closest relatives of alligators.
A similar attack made headlines this week when photos of a golden eagle attacking a sika deer
in Russia were released.
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