The caiman never saw it coming.
The otter enjoys something of a rosy reputation in popular culture today. No matter which subspecies we are talking about, people see these mammals as cute, cuddly aquatic creatures that would never harm anything more than a fish. We can probably thank Disney movies for adding to this romanticized, anthropomorphic view of a wild animal.
Some people forget that otters are carnivores. More specifically, they are members of the Mustelidae family of mammals. Their close relatives include animals with nasty dispositions like the wolverine or the badger.
As a result, otters are more than able to play dirty and even kill if they are forced. Case in point is the wild video captured by a BBC Earth documentary film crew in the Peruvian Amazon. This family of otters which includes both parents and young, decide to pick a fight with a member of the alligator family, a caiman. The battle is long and brutal with the otters coming out on top.
If we had not seen it with our own eyes, we may have had a hard time believing it. We may never look at an otter the same way ever again after seeing this. Even knowing that caimans are one of the smaller members of the greater alligator family. These reptiles are still dangerous predators, as was evidenced by the caiman taking two of the otter's pups with it when it died.
It is worth noting that the giant otters you saw here (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the largest otter on the planet, which no doubt helped give these animals an edge over the large, predator reptile. As for why they attacked the predator, the giant otter is known for being extremely territorial.
In the end, the caiman may have simply been unfortunate enough to get too close to the otter's young for comfort.
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