Nature’s lessons are often learned the hard way — especially in the case of this encounter between a baby jaguar and a young caiman crocodile. 

Caiman crocodiles are some of the most ferocious predators that inhabit the Amazon jungles of South America, persisting in marshes, swamps, and other bodies of water. Black caimans are the largest of all caiman species and can grow up to sixteen feet in length and weigh over 2,400 pounds.

Young black caimans are not quite as dangerous, but boast needle sharp teeth capable of causing significant injury.

Jaguar Panthera_onca_at_the_Toronto_Zoo - Photo by MarcusObal

The jaguar is the apex predator of the jungle and a solitary, opportunistic hunter. These stalk and ambush predators are recognized as threats by nearly every other jungle creature.

Jaguars enjoy swimming, making aquatic prey irresistible game. Jaguars mature between three to four years of age, allowing for plenty of time for adolescents to learn the tricks of the hunting trade.

As adults, jaguars routinely prey on unsuspecting caimans as they sunbathe on the riverbank. But this youngster was not quite up to the challenge. Luckily the caiman was an adolescent as well, resulting in an equally matched encounter.

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This is probably not the last time these predators will meet. Watch the dramatic interaction below.

WATCH NEXT: the amazing moment a full grown jaguar encounters an oblivious caiman sunbathing by a river. As you will see, things are very different when jaguars grow up…