One of the big cats, jaguar’s are solitary animals, usually hunting at night, they often drag their food up trees for safe keeping, they love to swim and roam the rainforests of Central and South America.
The jaguar is a big cat in the Panthera genus, the jaguar's scientific name is Panthera onca.
The jaguar is the 3rd largest of the big cats after the tiger and the lion and it is the largest of all the big cats in the Americas.
Jaguar's are only found in the Americas. Their range extends from Arizona in South-west United States, Mexico, through Central America, into most Amazon River Basin countries in South America and as far south as northern Argentina.
The jaguar's preferred habitat is dense rainforest, but they are also found across other forested areas and open plains.
With its spotted coat the jaguar most closely resembles the leopard which is found in Asia and Africa, however, the jaguar is larger and has a stockier build than the leopard, it also has less but bigger rosettes (spots) with small dots in the middle. While the jaguars behavioural habits more resemble that of a tiger.
Like the tiger, jaguars enjoy water and are good at swimming.
Jaguars roam, hunt and live alone, only coming together to mate. They leave a scent to mark their territory. Female territories may overlap and range in size from 25 - 40 km2. While males territories are double that size, a male will aggressively protect his area (and the resident females within it) from other males.
The jaguar stalks and ambushes its prey, often leaping into water or from a tree.
Jaguars are carnivores, they prey on over 80 species of animal of all sizes, such as deer, pigs, capybara, foxes, fish, frogs and even large anaconda snakes.
The jaguar has a very powerful jaw, its bite exerts more force than that of a lion.
Male jaguars are about 10-20% larger than females. On average jaguars weigh between 124 - 211 lbs (56–96 kg) and are 4 ft to 6.5 ft (1.2 to 1.95 m) in length.
Jaguars live in the wild for 11-15 years, in captivity they can live over 20 years.
Many ancient American cultures such as the Maya and Aztec, featured the jaguar in their mythologies, it was often regarded as a symbol of strength.
Argentina's national rugby team badge includes a jaguar. However, a historical error resulted in the team being nicknamed to this day, Los Pumas (the pumas).