The Jaguar

Scientific Name: Panthera onca
IUCN Status: Near Threatened
Weight: 120-210 pounds


The jaguar is the world’s third largest cat, and is the most powerful of any feline. They have muscular forequarters, a very deep chest and foreshortened waist. The limbs are short and stout with broad, rounded feet with distinctively stubby and splayed digits. The tail is short in comparison to the rest of the big cats. The head is short, rounded, and massively built, giving them a similar pit bull appearance. Background colors range from a buff-grey to yellow, cinnamon, and tawny-orange with white or creamy underparts. The body is covered in large, black block-like markings or rosettes with darker brown interior and usually have small black spotting inside. The ears are short and rounded with black backs and an off-white central patch. Melanism (Black Panthers) occurs as a recessive inherited trait with the same spotting and rosette markings. Melanistic individuals are more common in lowland tropical forests.


Jaguars have a diverse diet with at least 86 recorded prey species. Across its range capybaras and peccaries are the most common, and white tailed deer are common in its northern range. Prey species also include monkeys, armadillos, sloths, caiman alligators, turtles, and other medium to large reptiles.


Reproductive patterns in the wild are poorly known, but are believed to be seasonal with the peak breeding season matching that of its prey items. Gestation averages 101-105 days, litters can be 1-4 cubs, but average 2.

Geographic Range

Image Retrieved on Jan. 7, 2019, from