These pictures of a jaguar killing a caiman are impressive and they show us too how impressive the jaguar is at killing almost any prey. They have the strongest bite of all the cats and it’s why many jaguar skulls in museum collections have canine teeth that are badly worn and/or chipped. Louise Emmons in Great Cats writes that the powerful jaws and strong canine teeth of the jaguar are used to penetrate the armour-like tough outer protective layer of caiman and turtles.
In the Iguacu National Park of Brazil reptiles were found in 6.6 percent of scat samples. On the floodplain of the San Jorge and Cauca rivers in northern Columbia, reptiles (mainly caiman), river turtles and iguanas makes up 36% of the jaguar’s diet.
Jaguars can break open the carapace of large tortoises with their teeth. In the pictures a jaguar has killed a caiman with a suffocating neck bite. This is the sort of killing bite employed by lions when killing large prey.
Jaguars usually drag killed prey into dense cover before eating. The formidable strength of the jaguar allows it to drag large prey up to a mile over rough ground. The jaguar is the third largest cat after the tiger and lion but it beats both the larger animals with its bite force. Its canine teeth are also stronger. This is a very strong, stocky cat with a deep-chest and large head. Its limbs are short and sturdy; all of which explains why this fabulous cat has ‘dominated the religion and culture of a continent’1.
1. Wild Cats Of The World page 306.
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