Jaguars do eat snakes. Unlike other big cats, jaguars love the water, so they can hunt snakes in the water as well as on land.
In the wild, it is not unusual for a jaguar to attack and eat a python. Jaguars, however, are cautious of snakes. They know that it is a risky proposition, so they attack pythons with care and careful strategy.
Why Do Jaguars Eat Snakes?
Jaguars eat snakes because they are obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is a true carnivore, which means they can get their required nutrients only from animal flesh.
Obligate omnivores like the jaguar may eat grass from time to time. However, they do not have the digestive system or capability to digest plant matter.
The jaguar depends only on flesh to get the nutrients that it needs to survive. As such, they will hunt anything that they can get their paws on. But, of course, they have preferences. Studies show that jaguars hunt animals that are between one and 130 kilograms in mass.
On average, the jaguar hunts animals between 45 and 85 kilograms. Animals of this size are typically deer and other mammals. They prefer hunting the capybara and the giant anteater. Snakes like pythons and anacondas are also on the menu.
Can A Jaguar Kill A Snake? (And How?)
The way a jaguar kills snake prey is the same as its signature hunting technique. It bites the python on the head if it can. Since the jaguar has paws, it can hurt the snake several times before biting. Jaguars keep their distance from the snake’s bite, allowing them to hunt snakes while protecting themselves.
The jaguar has a strong bite force. It can pierce even the shell of the yellow-spotted Amazon turtle. What makes the jaguar unique is that it bites its prey on the skull. Its cousins, the lions, bite prey by the neck to suffocate them.
When a jaguar hunts and kills a snake, it has to time its attack. Pythons and anacondas also have powerful bites. Some of them can grow fangs up to four inches long. When these snakes bite and succeed, they do it with such accuracy and speed.
If the snake catches on the jaguar first, the jaguar will be at the snake’s mercy. As such, jaguars are cautious when approaching snake prey. They know that a single mistake can cost them their lives.
Do Jaguars Eat Anacondas?
Jaguars can eat anacondas. Like their cousins in the big cat family, they are not picky eaters. Because jaguars are obligate carnivores, they have to be opportunistic in their hunting styles. What this means is that they will not hesitate to hunt any animal they can find.
Jaguars not only eat anacondas, but they also eat caimans. There are many documentations of jaguars hunting crocodiles.
Since jaguars are not picky eaters, caimans are a good sport. However, they will not attack the big crocodiles. They would also avoid confrontation in the water.
Do Jaguars Eat Pythons?
Jaguars can eat pythons. They do this if the situation permits it and if they are hungry. Since jaguars are solitary and opportunistic, they do not have to wait for large animals to come by to find a meal and will happily kill and eat a python.
Although pythons and anacondas are the terror of the Americas, they are no match for the jaguar. As a cat, the jaguar has agility and speed. In addition, jaguars have powerful teeth, jaws, and paws. These are the tools jaguars use to hunt and kill.
The python, on the other hand, has nothing but constriction. There are videos online showing pythons trying to attack big cats. However, the big cats managed to escape.
Snakes like the python also have low endurance. They easily get tired in a fight. Even if a jaguar fails to deliver a lethal bite to the python’s head, it has the stamina for a long battle. The python gets tired, and the jaguar is free to eat its meal.
Do Jaguars Eat Other Reptiles?
Jaguars can eat small reptiles including lizards and caimans.
When a jaguar attacks a crocodile, it bites the neck and suffocates the animal. In a video from National Geographic, a jaguar stalks that bank of a river in central Brazil.
Jaguars are the most aquatic of all cats. In the video, the jaguar was partially in the water. However, it moves so silently that it does not make any splash.
When the jaguar sees two caimans basking under the sun on an island, the jaguar swam across to reach them. It did not make splashes or noises when swimming.
Finally, it went up the banks, and the crocodiles were still unsuspecting. Then, in two jumps, it delivered a fatal bite on the caiman’s neck. It took less than five seconds for the hunt and less than that for the caiman to succumb.
The jaguar made it look so easy. The caiman, after the bite, did not fight anymore. It had no power to struggle.
More Animals that Eat Snakes:
What do Jaguars Eat?
Jaguars have a varied diet. They eat more than 85 species of animals in total. In addition, they can eat any reptile or vertebrate in their habitat. For example, if the jaguar lives near a river, it will hunt both in the river and along the river.
Here are some examples of what jaguars eat:
They also travel far and wide. Despite being solitary. A jaguar may travel about 10 kilometers at night when looking for food.
Summary: Do Jaguars Eat Snakes?
Jaguars are powerful big cats. Unlike their cousins, they are not afraid of the water. It is this trait that allows them to capture and eat anacondas and pythons. Jaguars eat snakes because they are obligate carnivores. On top of that, they are also opportunistic.
In the wild, jaguars would prowl from riverbanks. If they spot a reptile, like an anaconda or even a caiman, they will jump to attack. Jaguars rely on their agility, teeth, and jaws to make a hunt successful.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.