Where does the name Jaguar come from?

Animal Lexicon: Jaguar

The jaguar is America's largest big cat. Jaguars are threatened by the deforestation of the rainforest - their preferred habitat

Jaguars (Panthera onca) belong to the cat family (Felidae) and to the subfamily of the big cats (Pantherinae). They are mammals and look very similar to the leopard, which, however, lives on another continent.

General information about the jaguar

Jaguars usually have a yellow-brown fur. Every now and then there is also a reddish-brown or even black fur coloration (melanism). The fur is covered with rosette-shaped (ring-shaped) black spots in which there are black spots.

These big cats can be up to 1.8 meters long. They can weigh more than 100 kilograms. The entire body looks very powerful and muscular. The strong jaw muscles are particularly impressive.

Females are smaller and lighter than males.

What does a jaguar eat?

Jaguars are carnivores that mostly hunt on the ground. Deer, armadillos, tapirs, pakas, monkeys and sloths serve as their prey. These cats occasionally catch fish because, unlike many of their relatives, they are not at all afraid of water.

How does a jaguar live?

Jaguars live in South and Central America. The distribution area extends from Argentina over Brazil up to Mexico. They prefer the rainforest in the Amazon basin as it provides them with shelter and food. Most of the time they roam alone through their territories of up to 150 square kilometers. They only seek contact with conspecifics during the mating season. The gestation period for female jaguars is around 95 days. Then two to four young animals are born, which are suckled for three months and stay with the mother for about two years. The life expectancy of wild jaguars is around twelve years. In captivity, they can even live up to 20 years.

Is the jaguar endangered?

Jaguars are classified as threatened and are protected species. The main problem these cats face is habitat loss due to the ongoing deforestation of the rainforest. Then there is poaching. Despite the ban, jaguar pelts are still traded. In addition, farmers often hunt big cats to protect their cattle. The jaguar is not yet threatened with extinction, but the population continues to decline.

Wanted poster: Jaguar

  • Scientific name: Panthera onca
  • size: 1.80 meters long
  • Weight: 100 kilograms
  • lifespan: up to 12 years
  • habitat: North and Central America, rainforest, bush landscapes
  • nutrition: Carnivores, fish, armadillos, monkeys, tapirs, pakas, sloths, fish
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