Appearance: They have a tawny yellow color with dark spots on their head, neck and dark rings with dark spots inside on their body. They look similar to a leopard, but have a larger jaw and head, as well a significant difference in their coats. Jaguars are heavily built with a stocky appearance, short, sturdy legs and a short tail. They are the third largest cat and largest in the New World. 

Habitat: Jaguars live in dense jungle, scrubland, reed thickets and shoreline forests in the Southwestern United States and extend south to Argentina. They 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. 

Family Life: They are solitary animals, only coming together to breed. Cubs stay with their mother for about two years.

Threats: Threats include habitat loss, fragmentation and persecution by farmers.


Class: Mammalia (Mammals)

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Panthera

Species: Onca

Status: Vulnerable

Lifespan: 11 to 12 years in the wild, up to 20 years in managed care

Diet: Mammals, eggs, frogs, fish, reptiles, birds


reel 'em in

They go "fishing" by waving their tail over water to attract hungry fish.

spot on

Every jaguar has a different spot pattern.

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The Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S., caring for over 3,000 animals, with nearly 400 species represented, including many threatened/endangered species.