It caim out of nowhere: Giant jaguar and caiman wrestle to the death in frantic river battle

This frantic scene showed the sheer power of some of nature’s greatest creatures, as a jaguar and caiman wrestled to the death in a South American river.

In the footage and images – captured in the Encontros das Águas State Park in the Corixo Negro River, Pantanal, Brazil – the pair can be seen wildly trashing around in the waters, the jaguar even taking the caiman under for a number of seconds at a time.


Usually, jaguars opt for a stealthy approach to tackle such large caimans in the region, creeping up from behind, pouncing on them and crushing their prey’s skull in the process. 

On this occasion, however, the big cat only grabbed a hold of the caiman’s lower jaw, giving its opponent a chance.

The tussle was captured on film by Danielle Hunter, 21, a student from the University of Michigan, and her brother, Edward, 18; Eduard 

Sangster, from the Netherlands, captured images.

After around a 15-minute struggle, the jaguar eventually came out on top, dragging the caiman to the shore.

Danielle, speaking of the July 29, 2018, event, said: “I was in complete shock and awe during the entire fight.


“You can hear me gasping in the video and my brother and I kept glancing at each other with looks of amazement because it was an incredible event to witness.

“We knew that we were lucky to be able to view it from such a close proximity.

“Whenever I show this video to others they’re always amazed. 

“Most people are surprised that the jaguar was able to win a fight in the water against a caiman, which I honestly was as well.” 


Dana, Edward and Eduard’s guide – Eduardo Falcao, of the Jaguar Ecological Reserve – said this was the largest fight he had ever seen between a caiman and a jaguar.

The jaguar seen in the footage, Reo, – also known as Mick Jaguar – is well-known in these parts and has been tracked in the past.

Staff with the Jaguar Identification Project were able to recognize the creature and have been using citizen science to keep track of him and 

others in the Pantanal region down the years. 

Eduard, who captured images of the fight and its aftermath, said: “You could hear Reo, as this individual is named as he frequents the 

shores of the rivers, breath heavily during the pauses of the fight. 


“Also the sound of the breaking of the caiman’s neck I will never forget. 

“I have visited nearly 50 countries to watch birds and mammals, and this was also my forth visit to Brazil, but this was the most intense experience I’ve ever had.”