Can you spot me?
The Jaguar is the largest cat of the Americas. Their spotted coat helps them to disappear into their surroundings. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest most powerful feline in the Western Hemisphere.
The jaguars present range extends from Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. This beautiful cat has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 1900s.
While dense rainforest is its preferred habitat, the jaguar will range across a variety of forested and open terrain. It is strongly associated with the presence of water and it is notable as a feline that enjoys swimming. The jaguar is a largely solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator, and is opportunistic in prey selection.
Conservation Status: Threatened. The jaguar is a threatened species and its numbers are declining. Threats include habitat loss and fragmentation. While international trade in jaguars or their parts is prohibited, the cat is still regularly killed by humans, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America. Although reduced, its range remains large; given its historical distribution, the jaguar has featured prominently in the mythology of numerous indigenous American cultures, including that of the Maya and Aztec.
Did you Know?
The jaguar has an exceptionally powerful bite, even relative to the other big cats. It is an adaptation that allows it to pierce the shells of armored reptiles.