Brazil: Pantanal – Jaguars
And this is what I came to Pantanal for – to see jaguars in the wild. Sightings are by no means guaranteed, but I got to see four jaguars in 1.5 days of river cruising (sometimes people see 6 in one day and often none at all). The first one was posing on a sand bank, full with a recent meal (you could smell the rotting flesh). The second was just within a few feet from me but quickly disappeared in the bush. The third was lying on a tree trunk beneath the branches, hard to see. And the last one was the best – a juvenile hunting a lizard – jumping around like a simple cat! Totally awesome. Jaguar is the world’s third largest cat (after tiger and lion), but pound for pound is by far the strongest of all cats. They are excellent swimmers, can climb trees, hunt throughout day and night, and kill their prey by either snapping the backbone at the neck or midway or piercing the skull with canines (no other cats use this hunting technique).