Facts about Jaguars (Panthera Onca), the Third Largest Cat in the World
Jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas.
Jaguar is the third-largest big cat in the world (the first is the tiger, followed by the lions).
The name ‘jaguar’ comes from a native American word ‘yaguar’ which means “a beast that takes its prey in a single bound”.
Their scientific name is Panthera onca.
Jaguars are mammals, these carnivores eat a die rich in meat and fish.
Jaguar has a broad head, powerful jaws and a compact body. Its beautiful coat is normally yellow and tan, but the color can also vary from black to reddish brown.
Jaguars are solitary animals and live and hunt alone.
Jaguars are good swimmers, these creatures often live near water. They are also skilled climbers.
Jaguars are known to eat fish, turtle, deer, crocodile, peccary, snakes, sloths, monkeys, tapirs, eggs and frogs.
Although jaguars are smaller compared to some of the other big cats, but jaguars have the strongest bite of any feline. They also have the second strongest jaws of any mammal – just beihind the hyena.
A jaguar’s bite is twice as strong as a lion.
Jaguars usually kill their preys with one crushing bite to the skull. Their strong jaws can even bite through turtle shells.
Jaguars like to hide and wait for their preys to stroll by rather than chasing them like lions or tigers do.
Black jaguars are often called panthers. In fact, “Panther” is a general term that comes from the scientific name for big cats – Panthera. And therefore it is used to describe lions, jaguars, leopards etc.
Black jaguars are so dark that these big cats appear to be spotless, in fact, their markings can be seen on closer inspection.
About 5% of jaguars have a condition called melanism, which makes the animal appear to be black.
In the wild, jaguars can live up to 20 yrs and almost 30 in captivity.
Their habitat is typically dense tropical rainforests, but also grasslands and woodlands.
A jaguar can be 2.4 m long (from the tip of its tail to the tip of its nose).
Adult jaguars weigh between 45 – 113 kilograms.
Males are about 10-20% bigger than females.
The cubs are born blind and helpless. Mothers will continue to protect and feed their young until they are about 1 yrs old and the cubs will continue to stay with their mother until they reach 2 yrs old.
At one time, this beautiful and powerful beasts roamed all the way to the US-Mexico border. Today, they are only occasionally sighted in Arizona and Texas. Most jaguars are found in the Amazon river basin.
Jaguars mark their territory with their waste or by clawing trees.
The markings and coloring of leopard and jaguar are so similar that they are often confused with one another in zoos. The difference lies in the center of their rosettes – jaguars have spots inside their rosettes while leopard do not.
Jaguars are one of the four ‘big cats’ meaning these animals can roar, along with tigers, leopards and lions.
A jaguar’s roar sounds like a deep, chesty cough.