Jaguars are CARNIVORES, eating deer, monkeys, snakes, fish, even crocodiles, and pretty much anything they can catch.
They live in lush rainforest, swamplands, scrubland, savannas in central and northern South America. They always live within easy access of water.
Jaguars are the third largest of the big cats after the lion and tiger.
‘Beast of prey’ is thought to be the meaning of the word ‘jaguar’, originally ‘yaguara’ from the Tupian language.
Solitary animals, they mark their territory by clawing trees, and live and hunt alone. They come together only for the purpose of mating. It takes 90 – 110 days for gestation and a mother will have between 1 and 4 kittens who will stay with her for up to 2 years.
Whilst jaguars hunt mainly on the ground, they do climb trees to pounce on their prey. Their limbs are short and thick set, making jaguars particularly adept at climbing and swimming. Their enormously powerful jaws, combined with their ability to climb and swim, gives them a varied diet, ranging from fish and turtles, mammals like tapirs and monkeys and armoured skinned animals like crocodiles as well. They have the most powerful bite of all the big cats.
Their hunting helps to prevent overgrazing of vegetation by keeping herbivore populations under
Their coats can look very different! They can be yellow with black spots or look black all over. This is caused by a natural genetic mutation. There is no such species as a black panther; this is just a cat with a dark colour genetic mutation known as melanism.
Jaguars are at risk of becoming EXTINCT
Deforestation, fragmentation and hunting are causing their numbers to decline in the wild.
Their forests are being cut down for timber. And farms are expanding to grow crops like soybean and cocoa bean. Cattle ranches are growing too as demand for beef exports rise.
The species normally hunted by jaguars are pushed out as farms increase in size. But jaguars have to eat so they hunt the cattle instead. So they’re shot or poisoned by farmers and land owners.
They’re also hunted for their skins, teeth and claws which are sold on the illegal market.
We’re working to protect jaguars in the wild
We’re developing a project to help humans and jaguars live alongside each other. By learning why jaguars are being killed, we can work with local people and help stop these conflicts.