Beware of the dark – spot lighting fauna surveys

If you see the following at night in the jungle then you have reason to be concerned unless you are in a vehicle or a boat. This was one of 11 jaguars that we saw in a recent trip to the Pantanal in Brazil.

Jaguars (Panthera onca) are the largest of the South American native cats, and the third largest in the cat family behind the tiger and the lion. Their geographic range has been significant reduced and they are now mostly found in the remote areas of central South America in a variety of habitats including rainforests, scrubland, thickets and swamps. They are carnivorous, preying on a variety of mammals including armadillos, squirrels, deer, peccaries, capybaras and tapirs and have been recorded eating caiman, turtles, fish and birds when they can catch them. They mostly live alone and are territorial with home ranges 25-38 km² for females, and twice that for the larger males. The Pantanal is a hotspot for seeing jaguars.

This one was photographed just as it got dark.

jaguar combined

Jaguar observed hunting at night (enhanced image inset)



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