Jaguars are the biggest and most powerful cats in South America, making them an apex predators you don’t want to mess with. The jaguar has become an expert at hunting caiman, the smaller cousin of the crocodile.
This got me thinking could a jaguar take on a fully-grown crocodile? We will have ourselves an imaginary jaguar vs crocodile fight. To determine the most likely winner, I will compare the strength and weaknesses of both animals. I will use the American crocodile in this comparison.
Jaguar vs Crocodile: Size
The American crocodile is heavier and longer than the jaguar. The average weight of a male is 400 kg (880 lbs) with a length in the range of 3 – 4 m (10 – 13 ft). The biggest male crocodiles and weigh 900 kg (2,000 lbs) and have a length of 6 m (19.5 ft).
The size of a jaguar varies depending on where it lives in South America. Jaguars in the Pantanal can be twice the size of jaguars living in Central America. Male jaguars can weigh up to 120 kg (260 lbs) and have a length of 1.1 – 1.8 m (3.6 – 6 ft) from the nose to the base of the tail. They are taller than the American crocodile, with a shoulder height of 60 – 76 cm (2- 2.5 ft).
Jaguar vs Crocodile: Speed
Jaguars can reach a top speed of 50 mph (80 Km/h) in short bursts to catch their prey. They are also unafraid of getting wet and can swim at 2 – 5 mph (3 – 8 Km/h). The American crocodile moves the fastest in the water at 15 mph (24 Km/h). They are slower on land but can sprint a few metres at 22 mph (35 Km/h).
Jaguar vs Crocodile: Attack Power
The jaguar has the most powerful bite out of all the big cats, with a bite force of 1,500 psi. They use their powerful jaws to bite through their prey’s skulls. Their canines are 10 cm (4 in) long.
The American crocodile beats the jaguar on biting power as they have a bite force of 3,000 psi. The crocodile does not have canines; instead, they have roughly 60 – 80 sharp teeth of varying lengths, some can be 10 cm (4 in) long.
Jaguar vs Crocodile Who Would Win in a Fight?
The crocodile would win in a fight against a jaguar. A fully grown crocodile is too strong and heavy for the jaguar to prey on. Jaguars can defeat juvenile and subadult black caiman, but once the caiman reaches a length of 4 m, it no longer has anything to fear from a jaguar. With the American crocodile being the same length, if not longer than the black caiman, it would have no trouble beating a jaguar in a fight.