The Jaguar

Scientific Name: Panthera onca
IUCN Status: Endangered
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 stout with broad and rounded feet with distinctively stubby and splayed digits. The tail is short in comparison to the rest of the big cats. Background colors range from a buff-grey to yellow,
cinnamon, and tawny-orange. The body is covered in black block-like markings or rosettes with darker brown interior spotting.

The black, or melanistic, jaguar occurs as a recessive trait. Black jaguars also have spotted markings, though they are difficult to see on their dark coats.


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, sloths, caiman alligators, and turtles.


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.