Jaguar - Panthera
Jaguars are sometimes confused with the African
Leopard, who inhabit
parts of Asia and the plains of Africa. Jaguars are larger than
the Leopard with a broader head, and shorter stocky legs and longer
tail than their African counterpart. The Jaguar has a coat that
almost glistens with spectacular, close-set symmetrical dark rosette
spotting and mesmerizing eyes with hues in the color spectrum ranging
from rich golden yellow to light green. Melanistic individuals
have been documented, particularly in areas with dense forest underbrush.
Albino Jaguars, similar to our African White
Lions which were only
first seen in the wild as recently as 1975, have been recorded
although are extremely rare. Another example of the marvels of
nature's genetic pool is the White
Tiger which is not a true albino,
or a separate sub-species, but born instead with dominant recessive
The Jaguar simply put is one beautiful animal! Jaguars
are regal and have a look of royalty look with their striking
coats, streamlined muscle contour and penetrating, seemingly
all knowing eyes. Locking stares with this animal will
surely make you feel as if you are being sized up for a
meal! Jaguars are the largest cats in the Western Hemisphere.
Originally believed to have evolved from distant leopard-like
ancestors from Eurasia, the species made their way across
the Bering land bridge during the Pleistocene period into
the New World - now the Americas. Evolution of this species,
is similar to some of our Great Cats, like the Tigers and
Lions who also made passage across this land bridge. Current
range which once included the southern portion of North
America is now restricted to Mexico, Central and South
America and extending down into northern Argentina.
ANIMAL WEB CAMS
The Jaguar's name comes from Ancient
Indian term "yaguara" meaning "a
beast that kills with one pounce". The scientific name for
Jaguar, Panthera onca translates into "hunter" and "barb" or "hook" referencing
their powerful claws. Jason and David explain to us in the TigerHomes
DVD: Power Cats "Locked & Loaded" the
extreme muscle density concentration typical in the feline structure
a good portion of the body weight of these animals making them
powerful hunters. Extreme claws and fangs are
nature's added bonus! Actually all Wild
Cats must rely on these physical features
in order to survive as top predators and prime hunters in nature's
tightly woven web of balance to complete the circle of life.
Females are polyestrous year round and receptive to breeding
for very short periods of just 10-12 days. Cubs are born with
long, pale buff colored pelage which darkens as they grow.
Jaguars figure significantly in the Central and South American
native tribes history and this cat has figured prominently, both
feared and respected, in these societies for centuries. Massive
monuments devoted to their worship were built in honor of the
Jaguar by the Olmecs of Mexico. Ancient Mayan history tells us
the Jaguar symbolized the night sun of the underworld. The Tucano
Indians of the Amazon believed the sun created the Jaguar to
represent him on this earth. Temples from ancient times depicting
this reverence for the Jaguar still stand today. Modern day Indian
descendants continue to worship and believe the Jaguar to be
an animal deity.
It is estimated that during the 1960s, some 15,000 Jaguars were
being shot annually in the Brazilian Amazon alone. During this
period Jaguars were targeted in mass by human fur trade hunters.
Focus had shifted to the Amazon Basin, from the Asian and African
region where other large cats like Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs and Snow
Leopards had been hunted for their fur so intensely
the stock had been severely depleted. Jaguars were listed on
CITES Appendix I in 1973 making it illegal to trade their skin
or parts for commercial gain and offered full protection over
most of their range with the exception of Ecuador and Guyana.
Hunting of problem animals is allowed and they are often shot
on sight in Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru, particularly
for the taking of domestic livestock. Deforestation, loss of
habitat and subsequent prey reduction remains the most significant
ongoing threat to their survival.
There is an official Jaguar Conservation
Program which includes tracking of the animals with the aid
of radio collars for
population count, and their plan extends mainly to monitoring
of the Jaguar's
habitat. The exact population is unknown as previous studies
focused on relatively small areas due to the rugged nature
of the Rainforest terrain. The Amazon Rainforest remains
the key stronghold for the Jaguar where they thrive along
lakes and streams in the dense jungle canopy.
Please be sure to check back often
for coming attractions! You can be part of the beautiful
world of nature and learn
about these magnificent creatures just by logging on to the
TigerHomes Animal website. As always, we hope you
will take a moment to visit our Free Animal Web Cams featuring
African Lions and Lemurs in naturalistic habitats complete
with State-of-the-Art Viewer Snapshots. Enter your own Snapshot
into our Viewer
Gallery for a chance to win one of our Monthly
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voice your opinion and join in the fun! We hope you keep watching,
listening & learning!
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Scientific Name: Panthera onca
Common Name(s): Jaguar
Range: Mexico, Central and South America
Average Weight: Males 55 kg (122 lbs) Females 36 kg (80 lbs)
Length: 150 - 260 cm (63 - 103")
Diet: Carnivorous. Ungulates (deer), Peccaries, caimans, fish,
reptiles and birds.
Gestation Period: 90 - 105 Days
Cub Maturity: 4 - 5 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 4 Kittens, born with light buff fur developing
rosette fur pattern as they mature.
Lifespan: 18 - 22 years.
Social Structure: Solitary.
Territory Size: Varies by range from 30 - 150 km (17 - 87 miles)
Conservation Status: Placed on CITES Appendix I