Jaguar
Jaguar

Jaguar

Jaguar

Jaguar is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus and is the one cat of that genus found in the Americas. On our planet, only the tiger and the lion are cats larger than the jaguar and in the Western Hemisphere it is the largest. The jaguar can be found in the Southwestern United States and Mexico as well as across most of Central America. Its range continues well into South America as far as Paraguay and northern Argentina.

A small number of jaguars have been seen in New Mexico, Arizona (southeast of Tucson) and Texas but other than those few, since the early 20th century the cat is mostly no longer found in the United States. Jaguars have been listed as a Near Threatened species by the IUCN.

The spots vary over individual coats and between individual jaguars: rosettes may include one or several dots, and the shapes of the dots vary. The spots on the head and neck are generally solid, as are those on the tail, where they may merge to form a band.

Physically, with its spotted coat, the jaguar resembles the leopard except that it is larger, stronger and more muscular. Its fur is normally yellow and tan, but the color can vary from reddish brown to black. A near-black melanin-pigmented form occurs regularly. Jaguars with melanism (dark pigmentation of the fur) appear entirely black, although their spots are still visible on close examination. On all jaguars the spots on the coat are more solid and black on the head and neck and become larger rosette-shaped patterns along the side and back of the body.

Lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars are the only cats that can roar. The sound is produced by a specialized larynx and flexible bone in its throat and can be used to stake territory, communicate generally or express anger.

Jaguars are known to eat armadillos, birds, cattle, crocodiles, deer, eggs, fish, frogs, heifers, horses, mice and other rodents, monkeys, peccary, sloths, snakes, tapirs, turtles and anything else they can catch, up to 87 different species of animal and reptile food sources.