If we started off this post with a list of predator features that included four-inch claws capable of disemboweling an adult human, you'd probably assume we were referring to the big cat in this battle. And you'd be wrong.   


Captured by trail cams near Brazil's Centro Novo do Maranhão, this crazy bit of footage shows that when it comes to taking on giant anteaters, even jaguars proceed with caution. We typically see these insect-eating, bushy-tailed creatures cruising on all fours, but when threatened, they can stand some seven feet (two metres) tall. And those claws we mentioned? See for yourself:   

Image: Daniel McAlice/YouTube

The claws make the perfect tools for scraping and tearing through ant and termite mounds, but they can inflict serious injury. In fact, there have been reports of giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) killing humans in their native South America. Over the past few years, two hunters have died in separate incidents in Brazil. And as the anteaters lose precious habitat, dangerous clashes with humans could become more common.

The animals are not typically aggressive, however, attacking only when they've been cornered, spooked or provoked, according to a 2014 study published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicinewhich detailed the two fatal incidents. Mariella Superina, chair of the IUCN's Anteater, Sloth and Armadillo Specialist Group, also emphasises that locals have no reason to fear their ant-eating neighbours. "I have never heard of an anteater proactively and aggressively attacking a person or an animal," she said in a statement following the release of the paper. 

As for the jaguar, an anteater-sized meal is hard to pass up in the jungle, and many big cats regularly take their chances. This predator-prey pair is the source of many myths across the Amazon region, most of which depict the anteater as a prankster. Among Peru's Shipibo-Conidbo people, for example, legend has it that the first giant anteater tricked the mighty jaguar into switching pelts, and the creatures have remained trapped in each other's bodies ever since.


Top header image: cuatrok77/Flickr