- Genus/Species: Panthera onca
- Conservation Status: Near threatened
- Location: Central and South America
Large, Muscular and Powerful
The jaguar is the only one of the world's 'big' cats to be found in the New World. It inhabits rainforests, swamps and floodplains. Jaguars tend to prefer thick, dense, moist jungle where there is plenty of cover in order to hunt successfully. Jaguars love to be in the close proximity of water, and are excellent swimmers. The jaguar is large and muscular, with a large, broad head and immensely strong jaws. Its dark yellow fur is dotted with darker rose-like patterns known as rosettes. The pattern on the jaguar's fur is unique to each animal, much like fingerprints are unique to people. The pattern helps the jaguar blend in perfectly with its surroundings.
Jaguar is the third biggest cat in the world after the tiger and the lion. A full grown male can be more than 6 feet long- that is about the height of an average tall man- while its tail can be another two to two and a half feet in length. Jaguars are pretty heavy and can weigh as much as two average adults put together- about 350 pounds. The majority of a jaguar's hunting is done down on the ground, but they are also known to hunt both in the water and from the trees. The jaguar is a formidable and aggressive hunter and is thought to eat more than 80 different types of animals.
Despite their incredible power however, jaguars have been hunted through the ages. Although hunting for jaguar fur is now prohibited, population numbers have declined. The jaguar is also at increasing risk from loss of its home as forests are cut down to make way for agriculture or for towns and cities.
Did You Know?
- Jaguars have the strongest bite force of all cats.
- Although jaguars usually have yellowish colored fur, other colors are also known including black and white. Darker colored jaguars tend to be found in the dense forest areas as this helps them to stay hidden.
- A jaguar’s roar sounds like a deep, chesty cough.
- The jaguar’s name means “a beast that kills its prey with a single bound.”