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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.


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 (NT)


Jaguars are solitary hunters, able to swim and carry their prey into the trees where they sleep. 

Distinctive features

They are the largest felines on the continent and come third behind lions and tigers in the ranking of the world's biggest cats!
Its coat is dotted with dark rosettes that help it to camouflage.
Its jaw is the most powerful of all felids, making its bite fatal.


Hunting them is now banned everywhere except Bolivia. Although jaguars still suffer from the skin trade, their greatest threat is the disappearance of the primary forests where they live.

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