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
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.