Magnificent male Jaguar. It was early in the morning as our boat cruised slowly along the river in Brazil’s Northern Pantanal when we saw this magnificent male jaguar swimming amongst the water hyacinths. It appeared in open water for a short time and we could see that he was being plagued by flies and mosquitoes, just as were we. After climbing onto the river bank and disappearing, it suddenly emerged on to the trunk of a fallen tree. It reviewed the scene regally before shaking water from its body. After glancing around it leapt further up onto the river bank and then disappeared amongst the vegetation. A brief but spell binding encounter with this impressive big cat; the third largest cat on the planet after the lion and tiger.
In the Northern Pantanal, male Jaguars have an average weight of 95kg and stand 0.75m at the shoulder. The structure of the jaw (muscles and teeth) give the jaguar a greater bite force than any other cat. They can kill any reptile (one of their favourite prey species in the Yacare Caiman) with a single bite to the right point on the brain cavity. Jaguars will take a wide range of prey species but the preferred species appear to be peccaries, capybaras, and caiman. One of the issues for the jaguar is that they frequently take cattle which makes them a target for farmers.
The Panatanal is the world’s largest tropical wet land and flooded grasslands/ Whilst mostly located in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, it also extends into Mato Grosso and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of up to 195,00 square kilometres (75,000 square miles) and some 80%of the floodplains are submerged during the rainy season. It is a remarkable place.