The jaguar is a carnivorous mammal in the Felidae family. It usually has a yellowish coat with spots in the shape of black rosettes.

The jaguar is the largest feline in the Americas.

The jaguar ( Panthera onca ) is a mammal belonging to the genus Panthera , the same genus to which the lion belongs . It is considered the largest feline in the Americas and, in Brazil, it can be observed in practically all biomes. Jaguars are carnivorous animals and are characterized by being opportunistic hunters.

The species has a yellowish coloration with black rosettes as the best-known coat pattern. There are also individuals with blackened hair, a condition known as melanism. They are solitary in habit, with males and females meeting only during the breeding season. Jaguars, predominantly, have a crepuscular-nocturnal habit .

Abstract about jaguar

  • The jaguar ( Panthera onca ) is a feline belonging to the genus Panthera .
  • In Brazil, it occurs in practically all biomes.
  • The largest jaguars are found in the Pantanal .
  • Jaguars have two coat patterns, the best known being the yellowish coloration with black rosettes.
  • They are opportunistic hunters and are strictly carnivorous.
  • Occasionally, jaguars will feed on domestic animals.
  • Currently, the jaguar is classified on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List as near threatened with extinction.

Taxonomic classification of the jaguar

The jaguar is a species of feline belonging to the genus Panthera. It stands out as the only living representative of the genus on our continent. See below for the complete taxonomic classification of the species.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genre: Panthera

Species: Panthera onca

Characteristics of the jaguar

The jaguar is an animal with a muscular and compact body, with short, massive limbs . Its length varies between 1.10 m and 2.41 m, and its body mass is around 35 kg to 148 kg, with females being smaller than males. It is worth noting that the body weight of the species varies according to the area in which it develops, with larger animals being observed in places further away from the Equator .

The Brazilian Pantanal is one of the places where the largest jaguars occur. These animals have large and powerful jaws . Their canines are robust and able to pierce even the thick skin of reptiles.

Generally, the jaguar has a coat that varies from light yellow to reddish-brown , with the presence of black spots and a whitish belly. In the region of the head, neck and paws, the black spots are like spots, while on the shoulders, back and flanks the spots form rosettes that have one or more spots inside.

Some individuals have a genetic mutation that causes an increase in the production of melanin in their body, a condition known as melanism. These animals have a blackened coat, and the rosettes are not very evident. They are popularly known as black jaguars and are more common in forest environments, where there is less light.

Jaguars stand out as excellent swimmers , being generally found in habitats near lakes , rivers and streams. They are animals that have a predominantly crepuscular-nocturnal habit, however, depending on the activity of their prey , it can be diurnal. In general, jaguars have solitary habits .

The jaguar is usually found near bodies of water.

Males and females meet only during the breeding season. After mating, females do not tolerate the presence of the male. Jaguars have a gestation period that varies from 90 to 100 days . Generally, the female gives birth to two young, however, there can be a variation of one to four pups.

Pups are born with their eyes closed and are dependent on their mothers. Females nurse their young until they are five or six months old, when they start hunting. Puppies remain with their mothers until about 24 months of age. Females reach reproductive maturity between 12 and 24 months, while males reach it between 24 and 36 months.

jaguar habitat

The jaguar ranged from the southwestern United States to southern Argentina . Currently, it occupies only about 50% of its historical distribution. When considering only Brazil, the species can be observed in practically all biomes , with the exception of the Pampa. These animals prefer forested regions, with the presence of bodies of water and large amounts of prey . However, they can occur in other environments, such as seasonally flooded swamp areas and grasslands.

jaguar feeding

Jaguars are carnivorous animals considered opportunistic hunters , attacking prey that are usually distracted They can feed on a wide variety of animals, with over 85 different species identified as part of their diet. As they have a wide geographic distribution, the diet is related to the place where the individual develops.

Some of the animals that are part of the jaguar’s diet are capybaras , tapirs and peccaries . It is important to note that in places where jaguars are significantly losing their habitat, reports of jaguars feeding on domestic animals are common.


Is the jaguar threatened with extinction?

Currently, the jaguar is classified as near threatened.

The jaguar is currently classified globally on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened . This means that if nothing is done to preserve the species, in the near future it could be classified into threat categories. The main factors that can contribute to the change of category of the species are:

  • habitat fragmentation;
  • hunting;
  • retaliation for the predation of domestic animals.

Curiosities about the jaguar

  • The jaguar’s spots, despite looking very similar, are different in each individual, and can be compared to the fingerprint of humans.
  • Jaguars have the strongest bite of all big cats.
  • Despite being a feline, the jaguar does not meow. She emits strong snores, just like the tiger, the leopard and the lion.
  • Males emit more powerful sounds than females, which tend to vocalize more softly, with the exception of the estrus period (estrus).
  • In the wild, jaguars can live from 11 to 12 years. In captivity, jaguars can live over 20 years.

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