Jaguar
Panthera onca

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Carnivora
FAMILY: Felidae

SIZE:
Total length 7 to 9 feet; 90 to 260 lbs.

RANGE:
Through central America to Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil including eastern Columbia, eastern Peru, eastern and southern Bolivia. Very rarely found in southwestern United States.

HABITAT:
Primarily found in tropical forests and savannahs especially in the area of rivers and streams or other water sources.

DIET:
Wild - Carnivore; feeding mainly on wild pigs, capybaras and fish that are the most available prey
Zoo - Feline diet (primarily ground horsemeat)

ADAPTATIONS:

  • Binocular vision - because the eyes are located in the front of the face, the image of an object falls on both retina. This enables the animal to accurately judge distances.
  • Sharp retractable claws - sharp claws are important in seizing and holding a prey animal. Being retractable enables the claws to remain sharp.
  • Padded toes - the feet are well haired except for the naked, rubbery pads, which allow for a soft and noiseless tread.
  • Stalk and stealth - stalks prey until it is within close range, then rushes the target.
  • Nocturnal - animal hunting mainly at dusk and dawn, wandering throughout the night and sleeping during the day.
  • Habits - solitary animals coming together only during mating.
  • Tree climber - strong neck and shoulder muscles for dragging prey to covered area and climbing trees. Climbs better than lions but not quite as well as leopards.
  • Swimmer - among the best swimmers of the cat family that helps extend their diet to include tapirs and fish.
  • Camouflage - their camouflage is very similar to that of the leopard with the rosettes (circle of spots)including a center spot.

YOUNG:
2-4 cubs born; they nurse 3-4 months and live with the mother about 2 years. Female maintains care of young alone for appoximately 2 years.

STATUS:
CITES App. I; near threatened due to habitat loss and past over hunting for fur.

REFERENCE:
Wild Cats of the World, C. A. W. Guggisberg
Mammals of the World, Walker