Jaguar – PANTHERA ONCA
- Class: Animals with Milk Glands (Mammalia)
- Subclass: True Mammals (Eutheria)
- Order: Meat-eating Mammals (Carnivora)
- Family: Felidae.
The Name “Jaguar”: “Jaguar” comes from the South American Tupi word “jaguara.”
From the southern United States to latitude 400 in South America.
The coat is bright yellow, almost reddish on the back, and has conspicuous circular markings, or rosettes, with a small black spot in the middle. The belly is white. The eight subspecies are distinguished by only minor features. The head is large and bulky, the body is robust, and the short legs are powerfully built. They can reach six feet long, with a tail another two and a half feet long, and a top weight of around 250 pounds.
The jaguar is most abundant around rivers or other bodies of water, and it is a good swimmer. The jaguar hunts on the ground and in trees. Its prey varies from tapirs to monkeys, to tortoises, and also includes livestock. It is solitary and only forms pairs for the brief courtship and mating season, which occurs in the spring further north and at any time of the year in the tropics.
Gestation lasts about 95 days after which two to four young are born. They nurse for three or four months and remain with the mother for about two years
Because of man’s interference – particularly through hunting and the destruction of the jaguars’ habitat – the number of jaguars has been drastically reduced, and the species is becoming seriously endangered.