Jaguar

Jaguar

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: jaguar
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Carnivora
FAMILY: Felidae
GENUS SPECIES: Panthera onca

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: The base color of their coat varies from pale yellow to reddish brown (with melanistic - black - coloration commonly exhibited). A subtle countershading is characteristic, with a deeper tone to the dorsal coat fading to a light/white ventral coat. Solid, black spots are found along the head, underbelly, and legs. Oscellated spots occur along the back and flanks. The general build is stout, compact, and powerful.
SIZE: Head & body length = 1,120-1,850 mm
Tail length = 450-750 mm
WEIGHT: 36-185 kg
MALE Generally 90-120 kg
FEMALE Generally 60-90 kg
DIET: Most significantly, peccaries, capybaras, tapirs, crocodilians, and fish
GESTATION: 93-105 days
NURSING DURATION Weaned at 5-6 months
SEXUAL MATURITY: 2-4 years
LIFE SPAN: Approximately 24 years
RANGE: Southern United States to Argentina
HABITAT: Forests and savannahs, with occasional intrusion into scrub and desert environments. Presence is often tied to a substantial fresh water source.
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
  REGIONAL Documented figures include 600-1,000 in Belize; 500 in Guatemala; 500 in Mexico.
STATUS: IUCN Near Threatened
CITES Appendix I
USFWS Endangered

FUN FACTS

1. Though territorial ranges are usually established by jaguars, these territories may shift due to seasonal conditions. Additionally, male jaguars are known to wander for hundreds of kilometers beyond their established territory.
2. A population density study in southwestern Brazil indicated that (for the region) there was one jaguar per every 25 km2. While females maintained a home range of 25-38 km2 (with little overlap), males maintained ranges roughly twice as large (with overlap into multiple female home ranges).
3. Through the end of the Pleistocene, jaguars could be found throughout the southern United States.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

While the jaguar once populated the southern United States, Central America, and South America, its presence throughout this range has been extremely diminished. It is rare or non-existant within the United States, Mexico, most of Central America, eastern Brazil, Uruguay, and much of Argentina. The jaguar's numbers have fallen primarily as a result of commercial fur hunting (with an estimated 15,000 Brazilian jaguars being killed annually throughout the 1960's), habitat loss, and culling actions attempting to diminish their threat to livestock and humans.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Nowak, Ronald M. Walker's Mammals of the World - Volume I (Sixth Edition)