Male Jaguar by the river.
Cruising along the river in Brazil’s Northern Pantanal, the first warming rays of the sun made the light particularly beautiful and warmed us up. As we turned a bend in the river, there, lying on a sandy beach was a magnificent male Jaguar also enjoying the sun’s warmth. After soaking up the warmth, the Jaguar finally got up, walked along the beach and river bank and had several drinks before he headed off into the dense undergrowth.
In the Northern Pantanal, male Jaguars have an average weight of 95kg and stand 0.75m at the shoulder. They are the third largest big cat after the lion and tiger. 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 wetland 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 195,000 square kilometres (75,000 square miles) and some 80% of the floodplains are submerged during the rainy season. It is a remarkable place.