Big cats – like lions, leopards and tigers – are among the few animals with enough brawn and moxie to take on a full-grown crocodilian. While these predators certainly target the occasional toothy prey, jaguars are likely the most frequent croc killers. A recently released clip from National Geographic's docuseries Hostile Planet showcases the jaguar's caiman-ending prowess.

The clip kicks off with a jaguar lurking jaw-high in a stretch of murky water while Bear Grylls narrates. "With each step a trap could snap shut," he explains, reminding us that this river is filled with teeth. The jaguar closes in on its target and lunges below the surface disappearing momentarily in a splash of white. It returns with a hefty caiman clasped between its jaws.

The jaguar administers an impressive chokehold, but to dispatch prey of this size, it will need to resort to its trademark killing bite delivered to the back of the head or skull. These burly cats are built for tackling sizeable prey. In the cat family, they are stocked with some of the strongest jaws for their size and have the brawn to back it up. 

Studies in the Pantanal – a swathe of wetland covering 70,000 square miles (181,300 square kilometres) in the centre of South America – have shown that jaguars target caimans across a broad size range. Indeed, the latest footage is not the first time we've seen the big cats take on reptilian prey.

Netflix also served up a helping of jaguar-caiman action recently in a sequence filmed for the David Attenborough-narrated series Our Planet (it's a predation bonanza if you're a jaguar fan!). In this instance, the jaguar launches an aerial attack from the river bank and pin-drops on an unsuspecting caiman:

Top header image: cuatrok77, Flickr