J is for January and Jaguars!

Here at the Creature Teacher we get a lot of animal questions! One we’ve heard a few times is, “do you have any big cats?” While we don’t have any big cats, we are happy to fill you in on some fun facts about them!

Photo from ASU Now

Jaguars are found primarily in South America, but can also be found throughout Central and North America. They are the largest of South America’s big cats. A jaguar and leopard are often mistaken for one another because they have similar markings. However, leopards are found in Africa and Asia, and jaguars are only found in the Americas. Jaguars are also more heavily muscled than leopards, and they have slightly different markings. 

They are usually tan or orange, and have distinctive black spots. The black spots are shaped like roses and are therefore called “rosettes”. Some jaguars have black fur and black spots. The spots are much harder to see, but they are there. These jaguars are mostly found in areas of the rain forest that are darker. 

Did you know? Panther is just a general term that is used to describe leopards, jaguars, and mountain lions. It does not refer to one species of animal. 

It is often believed that cats and water don’t mix, however jaguars are know to swim across the Panama Canal. They are very good swimmers, and will travel along rivers stalking prey, and even eating fish. 

They can live anywhere from 12-15 years, and even up to 20 in captivity. Jaguars are on the verge of being endangered because they are hunted for their fur and suffer from habitat loss. 

They can weigh anywhere from 70 – 249 pounds, with males weighing more than females. 

Jaguars have much better vision at night than during the day, and are most commonly found hunting at night time. However, they have also been known to hunt during the day.

Photo from National Geographic

Jaguars are such beautiful and interesting cats! Thanks for learning a little about them with The Creature Teacher!

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