Kitty Eats Crocodile. No, Seriously…

I’m an incredible animal lover/documentary junkie/spirit animal believer. I’ve been known to spend hours poring over wikipedia entries on extinct species and, my favorite, megafauna. So when I saw a photo story about a Jaguar attacking a Caiman (a smaller species of Crocodile) I was hooked.

This is the astonishing moment a jaguar emerged from the water to launch a ferocious attack on a caiman basking on a sand bank.

These stunning images show the 20-stone cat striking with lightning speed while the eight-foot reptile basks on a river island in Brazil.

In a flurry of action, the ferocious cat sinks its teeth and claws into the back of the leathery reptile before whisking it away in its jaws.

It’s amazing stuff, granted the Caiman is a much smaller species than it’s enormous cousins but at 150 pounds it’s a large an intimidating reptile. This is apparently a common event along the banks of the Cuiaba River in Western Brazil where the Jaguars are referred to as “caiman hunters.” It’s one of the only places in Brazil where jaguars can be seen consistently out in the open and could be a boon to ecotourism in the region.

Biologist Charles Munn from the Jaguar Research Centre predicts that in 2013, 4,000 people will come to see the caiman-hunting jaguars.

The scientist believes this could rise to almost 100,000 eco-tourists per year in 2025 and eclipse sports fishing as the biggest tourist pull in in wetlands – which span an area the size of the UK.

He added “My goal is to use sustainable, exciting Jaguar tourism to stabilise land-use and protect forests in half of the Pantanal, which offers the most extraordinary wildlife spectacle in the Americas.’

There are estimated to be between 50,000 to 100,000 jaguars in the wild throughout South America.

Click here for the full photo spread.TC mark

When it comes to matters of opinion, discover some of the most intriguing, informed points of view you’ll find anywhere — at The Opinionator, from The New York Times

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