When watching nature documentaries and looking through photos of interactions between animals in the wild, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the people behind the camera.
A wildlife photographer named Chris Brunskill recently risked his own safety in order to capture an insane battle between a jaguar, the third largest big cat species in the world, and a yacare caiman, a member of the Alligatoridae family that can grow to up to three metres in length.
Brunskill, who is from the UK, watched the tussle play out for 20 minutes or so until a victor emerged.
The fatal fight took place on Tuesday at the banks of the Three Brothers River in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Brunskill had heard reports of there being a jaguar in the area, and so, like any good (and daring) photographer would do, he grabbed his kit and made his way towards the last known location of the big cat.
Being sure to keep his distance, Brunskill watched the jaguar for about an hour before she spotted the caiman; in which time she had unsuccessfully targeted a group of capybara, and was obviously growing hungry. Astoundingly, even though she could not take down a small pack of rodents, the reptilian beast was no match for the the jaguar.
The pictures tell the whole story.
Then, the struggle begins
The pair thrash about in the water:
Until the jaguar has him under her control:
Before pulling him onto the bank:
Grabbing him by the throat:
And picking him up:
So that she can take him home for dinner:
Brunskill described the killing blow:
“After a long struggle, she immobilised the giant reptile with the trademark jaguar bite to the back of the skull, and then dragged the huge carcass for over twenty minutes across an open beach into thick cover.”
Despite the immense size of caimans, the crocodile-like creatures are actually fairly standard prey for jaguars. However, due to the danger of getting close to either animal, photos like these are a rarity.
Just last year, though, a videographer called Sally Eagle managed to catch footage of a jaguar and a caiman in the same area of the Pantanal Wetlands. If you thought the photos were impressive, take a look at this:
As much as I love wildlife, I don’t think I could be the one to go out and capture images and videos like this for myself. I mean, if a three-metre-long dinosaur can’t stand up to this overgrown kitty cat, I’m not exactly likely to do any better. I’ll just stick to watching David Attenborough on Netflix, thank you very much.