Wild Animals

Jaguar

posted: 05/15/12
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Jaguar
Jeff Foott/DCI
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One of the largest members in the family Felidae, the jaguar is a proficient hunter of a variety of small and large vertebrates on the ground and in the trees.

Highly territorial over an extensive home range of up to about eighty square miles (200 sq km), it lives a solitary life — except during the breeding season, when male and female come together to mate and reproduce.

After the young are born, the female becomes highly aggressive toward any perceived threat — which can include the father.

The young may stay with the mother for up to two years as they hone their hunting skills.

Hunting for sport and pelt are the primary reasons for the decline of this species, although deforestation and habitat loss have contributed as well.

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Animal Facts

Name: Jaguar (Panthera onca)

Family: Felidae (Cats)

Range: Mexico, Central America into South America

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests; open woodlands, swamps, and savannas

Diet: Medium-sized mammals (deer, peccaries, tapirs, capybara), fish, and some reptiles

Head and Body Length: 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m)

Tail Length: 18 to 30 inches (45 to 75 cm)

Shoulder Height: about 28 inches (70 cm)

Weight: 77 to 350 pounds (35 to 160 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating year-round in some locales, in spring in cooler regions; gestation 90 to 110 days, one to four cubs born

Description: Tan coat with dark rosette markings; broad head; powerful build; muscular forequarters

Conservation Status: Lower Risk (Near Threatened)

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation

Related Content: Australia Zoo

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