it’s interesting that this jaguar is stalking in zero cover and yet somehow the capybara didn’t spot it. It’s one of the interesting things about cats that some have spots and others stripes — is it just chance that one pattern occurs in a given species as opposed to another or has there ever been a study as to why tigers are striped and jaguars spotted?
As usual, there are theories, i.e., the tiger’s vertical stripes look like bands of shadow and light in tall grass, while the Jaguar’s & Leopard’s spots break up its outline in dappled shade. But I don’t think there’s anything definitively proving any of them–tigers also hunt in dappled shade and Jaguars & Leopards hunt in tall grass (as do Cheetahs.) and in the open. One thing all the experts seem to agree on is that its a form of camouflage. If this is the case, most likely it doesn’t matter whether its spots, rosettes or stripes as long as the predator’s outline is broken up enough as to not register as danger to an herbivore. But there’s also the Lion w/ absolutely no markings. It too is able to sneak up quite closely to its prey. I suspect that movement vice shape is the herbivore’s primary determinant in detecting predators.
Some think that stripes evolved from spotted patterns and provide intriguing evidence to support that. Others think that spotted patterns evolved from striped coats and provide intriguing evidence to support that. :-D. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.
Note how the jaguar grabbed the capybara by the back of the skull. They are the only cats that routinely use a skull bite for their kill. It may be related to the fact that they are also the only cat that routinely takes reptilian prey (notably turtles and caiman). They are also by far the most aquatic of cats, even more so than tigers and fishing cats. I think that the skull bite may have developed in this species because they often hunt large fish, which would be impossible to catch with a throat bite. They are known to “toll” for prey, too, rolling and playing to catch a deer’s attention (for instance), and swishing their tail tips across water to lure fish. All in all they are the prize-fighters of the feline world, really magnificent animals.
This is a great video. Congrats on keeping the camera steady and on focus on the subject. I am originally from Ecuador and I have seen plenty of jaguars but never for a prolonged time like this. It must have been really focused on its prey because it was on the open for quite some time. Great job!