Saturday, November 6, 2010


The jaguar (panthera onca) is a cat found in rainforests of the Americas.  They are the third largest cats, being smaller only to the tiger and lion.  It resembles the leopard.  They are the only  Panthera genus cats found in the Americas.  Their range has decreased greatly due to hunting for skin and loss if habitat.

Physical Features
The jaguars can reach a length of 6 feet, making it one of the largest cats.  The weight varies depending upon the size. Generally, an adult male weighs about 96 kilograms.  Some larger males have been recorded to weigh about 160 kilograms.  Whereas, jaguars which are smaller weigh only 36 kilograms.  Females are generally 10 to 20% smaller than males.  Jaguars have distinct markings on their tan skin color called 'rosettes'.  They normally have a tail which is 75 centimeters long.  Their body color varies from a tawny yellow to a reddish brown or black.  They have rosettes for camouflage in its rainforest habitat.  Jaguars are very stocky and have a very powerful jaw.  They can carry 360 kilograms with its mouth for 25 feet.

The jaguars are felines from the genus of Panthera.  The subspecies are-
1- Mexican Jaguar
2- Peruvian jaguar
3- Central American Jaguar
4- Arizonian Jaguar
5- Goldman's Jaguar
P. onca is the largest subspecies of jaguar.

The jaguar once roamed throughout the Americas.  But, recently, due to habitat loss and hunting, they are found in parts of Mexico, through Central America and into South America.  They are found in the countries of  Venezuela, Belize, Argentina, Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana, Bolivia, United States, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia,  Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Conservation Status
The jaguar has greatly decreased in numbers.  In 1960, there were about 15,000 jaguars skins brought out from the Amazon in Brazil.  It is rated as Near threatened in IUCN Red List.  George.W.Bush had done a project to recover the numbers of the jaguars.  Now, there numerous breeding programs and the population of jaguars are slowly recovering.

The jaguar has a carnivorous diet, feeding on capybaras, deers, foxes, dogs and even tapirs.  Sometimes, if food is scarce, they may even feed on anacondas.  Most of the times, they will catch prey which is easy to kill like frogs, lizards and small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Their jaws are powerful even compared to tigers and lions.  Their jaw is strong enough to to break bones.  They use their jaws to carry their meat to a safer place where no other jaguar can take it.

Source of picture 1:

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