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Phantom Cat Facts

The jaguar is seen here waking up from a nap. They love the water and come to the riverbanksnot only  to drink, but also to hunt, cool down and to mate.

The jaguar is seen here waking up from a nap. They love the water and come to the riverbanks not only to drink, but also to hunt, cool down and to mate. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels

  • Considered one of the major hydrographic basin's in South America after the Amazon, the Pantanal has an area about 138,000 kilometers (53,282 square miles). It is declared as one of the world's largest floodplains.

  • The reason for floodings is not only heavy rain falls that can reach up to 2000 millimeters at times, but that the clay soil cannot absorb much water. This causes the Paraguay river to overflow. In low lying areas, rainfall causes a complete flooding as high as 3-4 meters for six months.

  • The Pantanal holds the highest concentration of wildlife in South America, providing rich aquatic and terrestrial biota.

  • During the rainy season, the river water and the contact to the floodplain results in complex chemical changes and oxygen reduction. These changes can sometimes be so strong that the lack of oxygen causes a deadly environment for all fishes that live there.

  • The swampy character of this biome is the origin of its name, Pantanal, which means "big swamp".

  • 95% of the Pantanal is under private ownership, which results in 80% of the area being used for cattle grazing. Four million cattle are grazed along the private lands of the Pantanal.

  • With a length of 150 to 180 cm (59.06 - 70.87 inches) the jaguar is the largest cat of the Americas. Their body mass weight is around 95.5 kg (210.54 pounds).

  • Top predator scientists consider the jaguar a keystone species, meaning all other animal populations in the Pantanal ecosystem depend on the jaguar.

  • The Jaguar's existence is strongly related to the presence of water. Therefore, the Pantanal exhibit has a strong jaguar population.

  • Jaguars communicate by vocalizations, especially during mating season when they call for a mate. Female jaguars breed every two years and give birth to two offspring. Young jaguars become independent at the age of two years.

  • Jaguars can live for 12 years in the wild. Recently, scientists have found indications of cannibalism among jaguars.

  • Scientists have measured the bite force of the jaguar to be about 887 Newton, which is about 2 times higher than the human's bite force.

  • Regardless of the position of its head, the caiman can keep its eyes in a horizontal position to best inspect its environment.

  • The Pantanal provides a habitat for close to 100,000 to 200,000 caiman crocodiles. The female caiman's build their nest and share it communally with other females.

  • Because they cannot cut their food into smaller pieces, the caiman consume their larger prey by hurling the prey with their mouth. This is a technique that is scientifically mentioned as "death roll".