Big Cat Diaries – We answer the big questions: How to scare off a pesky Jaguar

November 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm 2 comments

Everyone always says how much they want to see a big cat when they come to the jungle, but rarely expect that hope to be fulfilled. However; Tuesday last, we had a full 40 minute Mexican stand-off with a jaguar!

The evening started pleasantly enough. As it was Laura’s birthday, we celebrated with a feast of improvised pizza, garlic bread and finally, in MLC tradition, a face full of cake! After we had eaten as much as physically possible, we rolled out into the forest to start our amphibian night transects. Presumably the feline could sense that after this sumptuous meal we were weighed down and in no state to make a run for it. As we reached the end of our first transect our attention was caught by a spectacular night monkey, frolicking in the trees above.  This alone was cool enough, but then Laura spotted a pair of eyes in the bushes 10 metres away. We decided to investigate further, shining our torches through the vegetation to try and get a better look where we managed to see a glimpse of ear, and a flash of leg, as well as the outline of the creature’s absolutely enormous head. Strangely up to this point, we had been far more curious and excited than scared, but after realizing the cat was a little bit too interested and seemed to have no inclination to leave anytime soon, we started to get a little bit concerned.

So far we had been stood quiet and still, but now we thought it best to try and do something, so we upped the volume by whacking our machete against a tree, shouting obscenities at the cat, informing it that it was very inconsiderate for ruining our night transect as we were unable to search for frogs, and we were running out of time to complete our transects. Finally we pulled out the trump card, guaranteed to scare any jaguar off (worked 100% of the time in our experience to date) – The Clap.

After clapping loudly, continuing to shout and waving our arms, the jaguar finally slinked away. Not knowing exactly where it had gone, we did a back-to-back, machete-wielding, stealthy retreat back to the centre (MLC). No further signs of the cat that evening, but we have seen tracks along the trails in the days that followed. An unforgettable night!

This guy was caught on one of our camera traps. Maybe this was the curious cat?

Laura Allen – Conservation Field Staff & Alice Brown – 6 month Intern

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Entry filed under: Adventure, Amazon, Amphibians, Camera Traps, Mammals, Monkeys, Night walks, Rainforest. Tags: , , , , , .

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