By Giacomo Brunelli

A FEROCIOUS battle between a hungry jaguar and a family of protective otters has been caught on camera

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Videographer / director: Alexander Ley

Producer: Danny Baggott / Giacomo Brunelli

Editor: Pete Ansell

Wildlife photographer Alexander Ley, 27, was on hand to record the rare confrontation deep in the floodplains of the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland on the planet.

The giant otters decided to move into a new den - otters are highly sociable animals that live in extended family groups of up to eight.

But little did they know, a jaguar was on the hunt right next to them.

Alex told Barcroft TV: “This day the giant otter family decided to move from one den to another.

“The day before we already spotted this jaguar napping right in front of the new den the otters decided to move to.

“The young otters were playing outside of the den and suddenly the jaguar appeared out of the thicket.”

Jaguars possess the strongest jaws of all big cats, allowing them to kill their prey with a bite through the skull, ambushing with quick pounces.

Male jaguars can weigh up to 100kg, over four times the size of a giant otter.

These opportunistic hunters would normally feast on caimans and capybaras, but it looked as though something different was on the menu this time round. 

Although an otter is no match for a jaguar, together, otters will aggressively defend their territory.

Once the jaguar had noticed the giant otters from the river bank, it slowly approached them - its eyes fixated on one of the youngest members of the family.

The jaguar decided to plunge and managed to grab the baby with a swift bite.

Alex said: “The otters fought the jaguar off and while seeking refuge in the forest the jaguar dropped the dead baby.

“The baby was now lying right in front of the den.

“The otters were meanwhile in the water, while the jaguar was on top of the bench. Both parties eyeing the otter baby located in the middle.

“There was an intense stand-off and none of the parties were making a move. Nature is unpredictable, we never imagined to witness an event like this.”

Whilst the otters successfully scared off the predator, sadly, their youngest was killed from the single bite – and the jaguar walked away with an empty stomach.

Alex added: “It was a very emotional scene to witness as we were observing the happy otter family a day prior.

“To see an interaction like this is extremely rare; most of the guides working on the rivers for decades have never witnessed an encounter like this before.

“This is a once in a lifetime shot!”