The historical range extended from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the United States south to either the Rio Negro or Rio Santa Cruz in Argentina. Now very few can be found in the Southwestern U.S. and they extend south to Argentina (they can be found as far south as Patagonia)
dense jungle and scrubland to reed thickets and shoreline forests; sometimes will also live in open country, as long as the grass and rocks offer enough cover for hunting, and a reliable source of water is available
Body Length: 1.2 m (4 ft); Height: 0.8-1 m (2.5-3 ft); Tail Length: 45.7-76.2 cm (18-30 in); Weight: male: 56.7-113.4 kg (125-250 lbs); female: 45.4-90.7 kg (100-200 lbs); cub: 708.7-907.1 g (25-32 oz) at birth
Young (# and name: foal, calf, cub, etc.):
Carnivore: medium to large sized prey such as deer, peccaries, agoutis, and pacas; water loving jaguars, found deep in the Amazonian region, commonly eat fish, frogs, turtles, and small alligators (more than 85 species have been recorded in its diet)
Life spans (wild):
Life spans (captivity):
Up to over 20 years
Status (common, threatened, endangered, etc.):
It is not listed by the IUCN, but it is protected in most of its range; CITES Appendix I.
Threats (to the wild population):
Habitat loss and fragmentation and persecution by farmers
Anatomy/Physiology (anything unique or interesting):
Most have a color that is generally a tawny yellow with dark spots on the head and neck and dark rings on the body. Inside these rings there is usually a dark spot. Some, about 6%, can be black with black spots. The black jaguars tend to live in more forested and darker areas. They look much like a leopard, but the jaguar has a larger jaw and head and there are significant differences in the coats of the two species. The jaguar is also more heavily built with a stocky appearance and short, sturdy legs, and a short tail. They are the 3rd largest cat and the largest in the New World.
They are solitary animals and the male and female only come together to breed. The cubs will stay with their mother for about 2 years.
Habits (unique to species/collection animals):
It is the only big cat which regularly kills prey (especially capybaras) by piercing the skull with their canines. It is also suggested that the massive head and stout canines of the jaguar are adaptations for "cracking open" well-armored reptilian prey, such as land tortoises and river turtles. It kills smaller prey by simply breaking their necks. When a jaguar catches a large prey it is either buried or hidden in a sheltered area, so the jaguar can return to eat when it is hungry later. It is also a patient hunter of fish. It waits by the edge of the water, occasionally hitting the surface of the water with its tail, which inadvertently attracts fish. As the fish approach the shore, the jaguar swats at them, spearing the fish with its sharp claws.
Communication (vocalization, etc.):
It is one of the 4 roaring cats. They also use scent markings to mark territories.
They have sharp claws and massive canine teeth. Although, they are very shy and they try to avoid humans as much as possible.
Deer, peccaries, agoutis, pacas, fish, frogs, turtles, and small alligators.
No natural predators
Locomotion (type, top speeds, etc.):
They are fast runners, but they get tired quickly. They can also climb very well and are good swimmers.
Activity (diurnal, nocturnal):
They cannot be classed as diurnal or nocturnal. Depending on the situation and the territory they inhabit, they will do either.
Any interesting story/fact (species or collection animal):
They act as keystone species in tropical ecosystems. They are predators of herbivorous and granivorous mammals and therefore help control their populations, thus positively impacting plant communities. Unfortunately they also prey on farmers’ livestock when the forest is cleared for farmland and are considered menaces to the farmers.
The South American name jaguara is said to mean "carnivore that overcomes prey with a single bound."