Animals Viral

By David Aspinall


A crafty tortoise managed to protect itself from being eaten by a hungry jaguar by hiding inside its shell.

As Graham Boulnois and wife Jenny Varley travelled through the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, they spotted a famous big cat called Fera.

After a red-footed tortoise emerged for a much-needed drink from a nearby watering hole, Fera padded over looking for an easy snack.

Despite not being fast enough to escape, the tortoise withdrew its exposed head and feet into its protective shell so there was nothing to grab on to.

Trying multiple times to turn the potential reptilian-snack over to get to the tasty flesh, Fera eventually gives up as she is unable to flip the tortoise over fully, leaving it in peace.

Graham said: “Jaguars are one of the most likely predators of red-footed tortoises, so we braced ourselves for an unpleasant few minutes.

“Eventually, Fera gave up and left the tortoise for another day.

“It stayed tucked in its shell for quite some time before daring to make the slow trudge back to the undergrowth and safety.

“It was one lucky tortoise.”

Fera was made famous by being one of two sisters rescued after their mother was killed, with them both raised in captivity by Oncafari – a jaguar conversation project that promotes ecotourism – so they could be re-introduced into the wild.

Graham said: “It was such a privilege to have spent time with this beautiful jaguar now at home in the wild.

“She is collared so the Oncafari workers can keep track of her.”