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Le couple de jaguars © MNHN - F-G Grandin

The jaguar

The jaguar, Panthera onca, is a carnivorous mammal from the Felidae family which lives in the Central and South American rainforests. It is the largest of the big cats in America and the third largest in the world after the lion and the tiger.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae
Life span :
up to15 years (23 in captivity)
Size & Weight :
55 - 61 cm for females and 68 - 76 cm for males (shoulder height), 41 - 72 kg for females and 56 - 102 kg for males
Gestation period :
3 - 4 months for 2 – 4 cubs
Natural habitat :
tropical rainforest
Diet :
carnivore – small and large vertebrates
Native region :
Central and South America
Statut UICN : 

Near Threatened
There are some men who consider it to be harmful and they hunt it to protect their livestock or to sell its skin, claws and teeth.

Lifestyle

The jaguar is an opportunistic predator which attacks large animals, such as tapirs and deer, and mostly hunts by lying in wait to ambush its prey. Its great strength enables it to carry large prey up into trees. The jaguar also feeds on smaller species, such as frogs and fish. Its jaws are so powerful that it can pierce the skulls of its prey or even a turtle’s shell. As with the panther, there are black jaguars. It is a melanistic colour variant.

Distinctive features

The jaguar has a sturdy body and a characteristic coat dotted with darker rose-like patterns with dark spots in the middle. As with the panther, there are black jaguars. It is a melanistic colour variant, but these cases are rare.

Le jaguar © F-G Grandin - MNHN
Le jaguar © F-G Grandin - MNHN
Le jaguar © F-G Grandin - MNHN