Species: Panthera onca
Jaguar Conservation Status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/15953/123791436
Jaguars are native to the Americas and are found in South America, Central America, and occasionally in remote areas of the southeastern United States. They prefer to live deep in rainforests like the Amazon but are sometimes seen in open terrain like grasslands while hunting for food. The Jaguar can weigh up to 115 kg (250 lbs) and lives for 12-15 years in the wild. They live up to approx. 20 years in captivity.
The Jaguar is an opportunistic* stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain (this means it’s an apex predator). Apex predators are also keystone species which means it “plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of the animals it hunts.”
*Note. In biology, an opportunist organism is generally defined as “a species that can live and thrive in variable environmental conditions, and sustain itself from a number of different food sources. They ain’t picky eaters.
Jaguars like water and can be found chilling near water sources. They are adept swimmers and are able to swim and hunt at the same time.
The Jaguar has an unusually powerful bite- the strongest of all the other wild cats. Its bite packs a whopping 700 PSI (pounds per square inch of pressure) 4826 kPa (kilopascals). It can bite right through the shells of armored animals as well as through actual skulls. It often chomps directly through the skull thus piercing the brain and making death instantaneous.
Here is a Black Jaguar with her baby. When a large wild cat like a Jaguar or Leopard is melanistic (meaning their fur is black) they are sometimes called black panthers. There have been reports of black Pumas but there’s no photo substantiation yet. Melanistic Bobcats (which are a type of Lynx and much smaller) have been documented however. Note: Melanistic Jaguars and Leopards still have spots, and one can sometimes see them in the bright sunshine.
The Jaguar may resemble the Leopard but they are actually quite different. The Jaguar only lives in the Americas, whereas the Leopard is native to Africa and Asia. The Jaguar is also heavier and has a blockier head than the Leopard.
Cheetahs, Leopards, and Jaguars have different spot formations.
Cheetahs have simple spots.
Leopards and Jaguars have rosettes; a rosette is a rose-like marking or formation found on the fur and skin of some animals, particularly wild cats.
Leopards DO NOT have dots inside their rosettes.
Jaguars DO have dots inside their rosettes.
Both Leopards and Jaguars have raised rosettes that can be felt if one were to run their hand across the fur. In the image below, note the visible rosette formations.