Male Jaguar. The Southern Pantanal in Brazil had been intensely hot. It was hard work as we drove around looking for the elusive Jaguar. We drove over a culvert and to our surprise, a very handsome male jaguar shot out. It had obviously been sheltering from the heat. It was a very relaxed cat. We watched for a short time before moving on so it could once again retreat to the cool of the culvert.
In the 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 Pantanal 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.