Jaguar Attacks Zoo Visitor

Gerhát Petra

2024. June 21 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

A woman who was attacked by a jaguar while taking a photo at the Arizona Zoo almost lost his life after snapping a selfie in the wrong place.


We can safely say that this nearly disastrous incident was triggered by a Darwin Award-worthy idea. The zoo visitor attempted to get a close-up selfie with the big cat by climbing over the fence and the woman attacked by the jaguar.

She was attacked by the jaguar because she wanted to take a photo

A visitor at the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona, had the idea to photograph herself up close with one of the most dangerous predators. The woman, in her thirties, was almost immediately taken down by the animal after she climbed over the barrier. She sustained severe injuries, especially to her arm, and had to be rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, due to prompt medical attention, she made a full recovery.

The big cats living in zoos are just as dangerous as their wild counterparts. Numerous videos circulate on social media, often trivializing how people’s natural fear of predators diminishes just because a plexiglass separates them. Meanwhile, most multi-generation, captive-bred predators still behave according to their nature: stalking their prey, charging at fences and cages, and would attack if given the chance.

The strongest bite among cats

A fully grown jaguar’s bite is so powerful it can even crush a turtle’s shell. Their menu includes over 85 prey species, showcasing their incredible adaptability. It’s no wonder they are symbols of strength and power in many cultures. The jaguar is muscular and compact. In the Americas, it is the largest feline, and globally, it ranks just behind the lion and the tiger.

A 100-kilogram jaguar can exert 4939 newtons of force with its canines, and with its carnassial teeth, it can apply 6922 newtons. This ability allows it to break a turtle’s shell, securing its title as having the strongest bite among cats. Although this number is daunting, there is an even stronger jaw: the crocodile’s teeth exert a force of 16,460 newtons, making it the animal with the greatest bite force on land.

Man is the greatest threat to jaguars

An adult jaguar is an apex predator, meaning no other animal hunts it; it sits at the top of the food chain. The greatest threat it faces, unsurprisingly, is from humans.

Habitat loss, poaching, and hunting pose significant risks to jaguars. However, according to the Red List, they are currently classified as only near threatened.

These big cats are exceptionally intelligent hunters, capable of attacking from ambush, including from water or treetops. Jaguars even fish, using their tails to lure and catch fish, then crushing their prey’s skull with a powerful bite.

big cat jaguar predator top predator zoo

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