Jaguar and Giant Anteater Standoff Ends With a Twist

Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
A surprising scene unfolded on a cattle ranch in Brazil between a jaguar and an anteater.

A photographer was capturing some shots of a giant anteater as it was taking a drink when a large male jaguar approached from behind. He looked like he was ready to pounce, but instead he just sat and watched with curiosity — and perhaps a bit of fear.

An anteater might seem like an easy catch for such a powerful cat, but these guys are actually pretty tough. Also known as the ant bear, anteaters have powerful front claws that can severely wound or even kill large animals. The claws are up to four inches long, and are used for both digging and tearing up insect nests and defending themselves against predators.

Anteaters have even been known to attack and kill humans who corner or intrude on their space. When threatened, the animals will go into a standing defensive posture with their arms outstretched. This is a warning to move away. If the predator — or aggressive human — comes closer, they’ll defend themselves by grabbing and attacking the aggressor with their forelimbs, which usually results in severe lacerations. (Friendly reminder to give wildlife the space they need!)

These guys are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and are regularly hit by cars, hunted for the black market trade, or are killed when farmers burn vast swaths or land before harvest.


Encounters like this are not as rare as you may think, though jaguars rarely actually attack giant anteaters.

In the videos below, you can see why.

WATCH NEXT: Jaguar Attacks Caiman