If you want to learn about jaguars, this page contains lots of useful information about the habitat and lifestyle of the jaguar, as well as how it is affected by changes to the rainforests.


The jaguar or Panthera onca, is a New World mammal from the Felidae family and is one of four "big cats" in the Panthera genus, alongside with the lion, leopard and tiger of the Old World. It is the only Panthera found in the New World.

The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and is on average most powerful and largest feline in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Mexico across a large proportion of Central America and south, through to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from occasional visits from wandering jaguars from Mexico, this big cat has largely been extirpated from the US since the early '70s.

This spotted cat most closely resembles the leopard physically, but it normally larger and of sturdier build. Its behavioural and habitat characteristics are closer to those of the tiger. Dense rainforests are its preferred habitat, but jaguars will range across various forested and open terrain. They are often associated with the presence of water and are notable, along with tigers, as felines that enjoy swimming. The jaguar is a largely solitary, stalk-and-ambush predator, and is opportunistic in prey selection. It is also an apex and keystone predator, playing an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating the populations of prey species.

Jaguars have developed an unusually powerful bite, even relative to other big cats. This allows them to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ an unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain. The jaguar is a near threatened species and its numbers are declining. Threats include loss of habitat and fragmentation. While the international trade in jaguars or their parts is prohibited, the cat is still regularly killed by humans, particularly during 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.

We are supporting the World Land Trust (WLT) - a conservation charity involved in numerous projects worldwide. Particularly relevant to this site is their work in helping to purchase rainforest land to protect and preserve it.
You can Help to Buy Rainforest and Save it by donating to the WLT to save some of this land through a personal contribution or buying as a gift.

If you have any photos, stories or drawings of Jaguars, other animals or anything else to do with the rainforest environment that you would like to see shown on the site, please feel free to send them in. We always welcome contributions or constructive comments.