Jaguars are awesome animals. They’re beautiful, they’re powerful, and they’re majestic. But it turns out there is more to these cats than meets the eye (or the camera).
Read on for some interesting animal facts about this fascinating cat species.
Interesting Animal Facts About Jaguars
A Baby Jaguar Is Called A Cub
Cubs are typically born in December to March. The cubs weigh around 1-2 pounds when they’re born, but they can grow to weigh over 200 pounds by adulthood.
These Cats Are Amazing Swimmers
Unlike most other cats, jaguars enjoy being in the water. This means that if you have a swimming pool or a lake nearby, you might see one of these guys chilling out at your local pond.
They Have No Male Or Female Names Like Lions Do
Male lions are lions, and female lions are lionesses. Jaguars are simply referred to as male and female jaguars.
Jaguars Can Roar Like Lions
If you want to hear a really loud roaring sound, then turn up the volume on a video of a jaguar. The jaguar’s roar has been compared to a saw blade cutting through wood.
The Name ‘jaguar’ Comes From The Indigenous Word ‘yaguar’
Yaguar means “he who can kill with one leap”. This clearly shows that the natives respected the jaguar and knew exactly how deadly they could be.
Their Biggest Threat Are Humans
Unfortunately, humans have a habit of destroyed habitat. Jaguar populations are declining in several countries because of increased human activity, which leads to habitat loss.
They Live In South And Central America, As Well As The Far South United States
You can find jaguars in some parts of Florida, as well as the Amazon Basin. They love tropical forests, so they tend to prefer warm climates.
Jaguars Often Have 2-4 Cubs
Most female jaguars will have 2-4 cubs. The cubs will then stay with her until they are old enough to take care of themselves.
Black Jaguars Are More Common Than You Think
Around 10% of jaguars are black. This happens when a dominant allele is in charge of coat colors.
Surprisingly, a study done in 2020 showed that up to 25% of jaguars that lived in the dense Costa Rican jungles were black, or melanistic.
This suggests that the darker coloring is useful is some way, likely for blending in with the darker surroundings.
They Can Weigh Up To 250 Lbs
Jaguars are not small by any means, they can weigh an average of 250lbs! That’s not a small cat, and while they may look cute, please don’t try to pet them.
The Fastest Recorded Jaguar Could Run 64 Miles Per Hour!
That’s pretty fast, right? A team of researchers measured the speed of a jaguar during a chase. It was able to reach speeds of up to 64 mph.
For reference, that isn’t much slower than a cheetah, the world’s fastest cat. Considering the habitat of the jaguar, it’s unlikely that they ever really move this fast.
There are limited open spaces to sprint in the jungle, as there are trees everywhere.
Their Habitat Is Being Destroyed
Sadly, the Amazon Rainforest is being destroyed due to deforestation. In fact, about 17% of the Amazon has already been cut down.
If we keep doing this, we won’t have any jaguars left. Most deforestation happens due to agriculture, but also logging companies are responsible for destroying habitats.
They Have A Gestation Period Of Around 93-105 Days
This is a little over three months, which isn’t a long gestation period at all!
The longest gestation of any land animal belong to the African Elephant, which lasts a whopping 22 months!
Black Jaguars Still Have Spots
It seems like these cats are born completely black, but after a few weeks their spots start to appear.
These spots are actually called rosettes, and they help camouflage the animals. They’re similar to the spots seen on leopards.
They Are Strong Enough To Kill And Eat Caiman
Jaguars are exceptionally strong, and can hunt and kill caiman and alligators. Their teeth are very sharp, and they use them to tear through flesh.
Their Coats Are Covered With Stunning Spots
These spots are called rosettes. Both jaguars and leopards have them! Each jaguar has a unique coat, which can help identify them.
Jaguar Cubs Will Stay With Their Mother For Two Years
When they are born, jaguar cubs are blind and deaf. This makes them helpless.
Their mother will care for them and teach them how to survive in the wild as they gradually get older.
There Are Thought To Be Only 64,000 Jaguars Left In The World
Because of poaching and deforestation, the number of jaguars is reducing. If we do nothing, they might soon become extinct.
Jaguars Usually Live Solitary Lives, Only Meeting With Others When It Is Time To Mate
They prefer to live alone, since they need to protect their territory. However, if they want to find a partner, they’ll travel far away from home.
Males and females will return to their territories once they have mated and continue their lives in relative solitude.
They Can Hunt During The Day Or At Night
Day or night, it doesn’t matter to these amazing felines. They can handle themselves, no matter how dark or light it is.
Their coats help them camouflage themselves whether it’s dark or light, so there’s no hiding!
Jaguars Only Live For Around 15 Years In The Wild
The average lifespan of a jaguar is between 13 and 15 years. Since they don’t have many predators, they tend to live longer than other species.
They Can Grow Up To 6 Feet 2 Inches Long, Not Including The Tail
On average, jaguars are slightly smaller than lions. But they can weigh up to 300 pounds!
Jaguars Are The Third-Biggest Cat Species In The World
After tigers and lions, jaguars are the third-biggest cat species. They can grow up to 6 foot 2 inches long, not counting their tails.
The fourth-biggest cat is the cougar, which can be found throughout North America as well as some parts of Central and South America.
These Cats Can Live For Up To 25 Years In Captivity
When living in zoos, jaguars can live for almost double their expected lives in the wild! This is because they are kept in large enclosures where they are fed and taken care of.
They receive medical attention when needed, which extends their lives greatly.
Jaguars Are The Only Animals In The Panthera Genus Native To The Americas
Jaguars (panthera onca) are the only panthera cats in the Americas. Other Panthera cats include the lion (leo), leopard (pardus), and tiger (tigris).
The cougar’s scientific name is Puma concolor, so although they are also large cats, they do not belong to the panthera family.
They Are 31 Inches Tall At The Shoulder
That’s the same shoulder height of a Scottish Deerhound! A 31-inch tall jaguar is not one you should mess with.
Jaguars Conversation Status Is Near Threatened
In 2012, the IUCN classified the jaguar’s conservation status as “near threatened”.
This means that the population has declined significantly, but is still stable enough to avoid immediate extinction.
We should do everything we can to help these amazing animals thrive in their natural habitat.
Their Scientific Name Is Panthera Onca
Jaguars belong to the Panthera family. This family also includes animals such as lions, tigers, and leopards.
They Have A Bite Force Of 1,500 Lbs Per Square Inch
A bite force of 1,000 pounds per square inch is considered strong.
This bite force is even stronger than a tiger’s! Jaguars need to have strong jaws because they drag their prey around, including up trees and through rivers.
They need that strong jaw to hold onto their next meal!
Jaguars Have The Strongest Jaw Muscles Of All The Big Cats In The World
Yep, you read that right, even stronger than the biggest of all big cats. If you needed a sign to now mess with them, this is it.
They Can Be Very Territorial
Jaguars usually live alone. Their territories can be as large as 88 miles squared, but this varies on where the animals are, and whether they are male or female.
Males typically have larger territories, but most of them simply avoid one another.
The Heaviest Ever Recorded Jaguar Weighed In At 328 Lbs
That’s almost 100 lbs heavier than the average jaguar! For reference, the average weight of an adult male lion in 420 lbs, and that isn’t too far off!
However, remember who the real king is – tigers can weight up to 700 lbs… just saying.
Jaguars Eat A Lot Of Different Foods
These animals really aren’t too picky when it comes to their food. Jaguars will eat capybara, caiman, and just about anything else they can get their big paws on.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in the water or not – nothing is safe from the jaguar.
They Love Water
Unlike most cats, jaguars actually enjoy being in the water! They love swimming and hunting in the rivers when it is safe to do so. Remember – there are carnivorous reptiles in there!
A Lot Of People Mistake Jaguars For Leopards
Many people don’t know the difference between jaguars and leopards, but they are very different! Leopards are found in Africa and some parts of Asia, and Jaguars are in the Americas.
Their spots are different, too. A leopard’s spots are completely black, and a lot smaller than a jaguar’s, who has larger spots made up of other spots!
Not to mention, the jaguar is a lot bigger and chunkier than the leopard.
The jaguar is one of the most beautiful animals on the planet. You might just want to snuggle them, but remember – they are killing machines and need to be respected!
Hopefully you can appreciate these majestic creatures, and really see then for what they are.
Their homes in the Amazon are threatened, and we should be doing everything we can to save them.
If you’ve never seen one of these animals in real life, your first time will have you in awe. Mark my words!