Jaguars are the only animals of the leopard genus in the felidae that live in South America.
With its large body and spotted pattern, jaguars are sometimes referred to as American leopards and tigers because of their appearance and strength.
Jaguars are often mistaken for leopards because of their similar appearance, but once you learn the secret, you may enjoy watching jaguars at the zoo.
Let’s take a sneak peek at what Jaguar’s characteristics and secrets are!



~ Basic information. ~

Mammalia-Carnivora-Felidae-Leopard genus.


Jaguars live in the southern part of North America and in the northern and central parts of South America.In the past, their habitat extended from the southern part of South America to the border between the United States and Mexico, but now their habitat has been reduced by about half.

It prefers tropical rainforests and waterfronts, but sometimes it can be found in the Andes Mountains, which are over 3,000 meters above sea level, or in dry desert areas.

Jaguars are basically animals that live alone, living alone except during the breeding and parenting seasons.
There is no fixed breeding season, and when a child is born, the child is raised only by females.Children spend time with their mothers from the age of one and a half to two, learning how to find prey and how to hunt.

Jaguar hunts don’t seem to follow and catch their prey, but rather creep quietly or ambush them to finish them off with a single blow.When they ambushe their prey, they hide in trees or bushes and suddenly jump on it, or sometimes they jump into the river to kill their prey.


It is said that jaguars eat more than 85 different kinds of food, including peccaries, tapirs, deer, capybaras, armadillos, sloths, and other mammals, turtles, crocodiles, snakes, and fish.



Jaguar’s Q&A.

What is the origin of jaguar’s name?

The name jaguar is said to have originated from the South American Indian words “yaguar” and “yaguara”.This word means “one who kills with a single thrust” or “a fierce beast that kills its prey with a single jump,” and is thought to represent the way jaguars hunt their prey.


Jaguar was long revered among the Indians as the god of the night who made infinite power a tangible form.

The fact that it is also a symbol of the god “Tescatlipoka” in Aztec mythology clearly shows that jaguars were considered sacred.

Why is jaguar a fancy spotted pattern?

At first glance, the jaguar’s spotted pattern is very flashy and conspicuous, and it looks as if it will be found by the animals that prey on it. So why do jaguars have a spotted pattern from head to tail?


In fact, the habitat of jaguars is said to be a place where there are many trees and a lot of light comes in through the gaps between the leaves.When a jaguar is in such a place, the spotted pattern and the light mix well, making it inconspicuous.

In other words, the spotted pattern looks flashy to our eyes, but it is a very useful pattern for jaguars to hide themselves.

What is the difference between a jaguar and a leopard?

By the way, do you know a leopard, a feline animal with a speckled pattern similar to a jaguar?
Jaguars and leopards are similar in appearance, but can be distinguished by focusing on a few points.


First of all, these two species have completely different habitats, and their habitats do not overlap.Jaguars live in the Americas, while leopards live in Africa, India, and China.

The jaguar and leopard spotted patterns are both similar to rose and plum flowers, but differ in size and pattern.

The spotted pattern on the jaguar is larger than the leopard and if you look closely there are black dots in the pattern.

On the other hand, the leopard’s spotted pattern is smaller, and there are no black dots in the pattern.

Finally, let’s take a look at the difference in physique between jaguars and leopards.

Jaguars have larger heads and somewhat shorter limbs than leopards. And the whole thing is muscular and chunky.

The leopard, on the other hand, is generally slender and looks like a larger version of a pet cat.

Is it true that jaguars also eat crocodiles?

It’s true.

Jaguars are the strongest chewers among felines, and by simple calculation, they are said to be about seven times their weight.

In other words, if the jaguar really bites, it will easily chew up the skull of the alligator, the shell of the turtle, and the shell of the armadillo.


In addition, the punches that come out of the paws are very powerful and easily crush hard skulls such as peccaries and capybaras.

Is jaguar a good swimmer?

Jaguars are great swimmers and can move very quickly in the water.


Many people may have the image that cats kept as pets do not like water or baths.

However, jaguars seem to prefer to go in the water, and sometimes they fight off the heat in the water, swim in the river, or attack and eat crocodiles and turtles in the river.

Is it true that jaguar is good at climbing trees?

It’s true.


Jaguars are the third largest feline animal in the world after lions and tigers, but they are very good tree climbers.

In the wild, in addition to using the height of the trees to hunt, they often spend time in the trees to avoid the heat and insects and to ensure their own safety.

How fast can a jaguar run?

Compared to other felines, jaguars have slightly shorter legs and an overall stubby body shape.However, the running speed is surprisingly fast, and it is said that if you are serious, you can run at 50-60 km/h.

Is a black jaguar a different kind than a regular jaguar?

No, the black jaguar is also the same kind as the regular jaguar.

The black jaguar is said to be a “black variant” a mutation that changes the color of the animal’s body to black.We don’t know exactly why their body color turns black, but they are no different from regular jaguars except for their body color.


By the way, there is also a “black leopard” whose body color has turned black, which is exactly the same kind as a regular leopard.

At first glance, both the black jaguar and the black leopard look completely black, but if you look closely, you can see that they have a decent spotted pattern in their black fur.

What enemies does jagger have?

Jaguars are the largest feline animals in South America, and there are almost no natural enemies.Sometimes there are “pumas” living in the habitat of jaguars, but since jaguars are overwhelmingly larger and more powerful, pumas are not enemies of jaguars.

If I dare to cite a natural enemy in such a situation, I might say that jaguar’s enemies are the same jaguar.

Male jaguars, in particular, are very dangerous, and if a female jaguar with a child inadvertently encounters them, the child may be killed.


But in fact, Jaguar’s biggest enemy is us humans.

Jaguars are very powerful and are definitely not animals that humans could win if they fought one-on-one. However, no matter how strong the Jaguar is, once a gun or trap is used, there is nothing to be done.

We humans have caught and killed many jaguars to turn their very beautiful fur into clothes and rugs, and to use their fangs as a talisman.

In addition, there are always sad stories of ranch owners hating them and killing them as vermin because they attack livestock such as cows and sheep.

In addition to that, tropical rainforests have been turned into ranches and fields, and the number of places where jaguars can live is decreasing rapidly.

As a result, jaguars have dwindled in number and have already disappeared from some countries.

Nowadays, catching jaguars is prohibited by law, and trading in fur, fangs, etc. Is prohibited. Some locals are working to protect jaguars, but unfortunately, poaching is still a constant occurrence today.

If this trend continues, the number of jaguars is expected to decrease further and they are feared to become extinct.



Type of jaguar.

・Arizona Jaguar
・Texas Jaguar
・Mexican Jaguar
・Yucatan Jaguar
・Panama Jaguar
・Amazon Jaguar
・Peruvian Jaguar
・Parana Jaguar etc.


今泉 忠明(2004年)『野生ネコの百科』データハウス

『ナショナルジオグラフィック 2017年12月号』日経ナショナル ジオグラフィック

環境省「9 大型ネコ類〈ライオン、ジャガー、ジャガー、トラ、ジャガー〉」

ナショナル ジオグラフィック「動物大図鑑 ジャガー」


平川動物公園「動物図鑑 ジャガー黒変種(クロジャガー)」


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