Spotting Jaguars In Brazil

Kate Waite

22 Apr 2014

seeking out these elusive big cats

seeking out these elusive big cats

Jaguars are normally at the top of everyone's South America wildlife wishlist. Unlike their African counterparts they can however be notoriously hard to spot in the wild. At Natural World Safaris we pride ourselves on getting clients in the right place at the right time for amazing wildlife encounters and are well known for being the experts in this field. 

Where? When? How?

Where? When? How?

Right Place

It goes without saying that you need to be in the right place to see jaguars. The Pantanal is the largest continental wetland in the world, stretching across an area of 150,000 square kilometers. Ninety-five percent of the Pantanal is privately owned with the land primarily for farming and a number of the lodges we use are privately owned, traditional fazendas (used for cattle ranching). 

Jaguars can only be found in a small area of the wetlands.

Given that jaguars live alone and claim territories of many square miles you need intimate knowledge of the region in order to find the areas where they are most active. It's essential to use guides who are wildlife specialists, with years of experience spotting jaguars. We only use the services of the best who keep track of local movements and sightings giving them a good idea of where they'll be able to find one.  

Right Time

The best time of year to see jaguars is during the dry season, July to September. During the dry season the number of water holes available to them decreases, forcing them to use certain locations for access to water making their movements easier to predict. 

The best time to see the cats is when they come to the waters edge to drink. 

Right Approach

Many tour companies will sell packages that include night drives, jungle treks and horse riding excursions to try and spot jaguars. While these are great ways to see some of the other animals found in the incredibly diverse Pantanal they aren't they best ways to search for these elusive big cats.

While jaguars are active at night the noise of the vehicles on night drives acts as a warning to stay away. Horse riding trips tend to take place in more open areas not frequented by jaguars, while jungle treks through dense vegetation makes it hard to spot anything other than a rustle of the bushes should you come across a big cat.

The best opportunity to see a jaguar is on a river boat safari. We've had some amazing sightings of cats coming down to the waters edge for a leisurely drink, or even swim (rivers provide an excellent source of prey including fish, turtles and caiman). 

If you are interested in finding out more about jaguar safaris then get in touch with our experts who'll happily talk all day about these beautiful big cats. Or for some more inspiration read about the jaguar safari experience.


Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey.

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