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Jaguar Animal Information

Their Origin: The name Jaguar is derived from the American word "yaguar", meaning "he who kills with one leap". Jaguars are the largest of beings from the South American's big cats. They are the third biggest cats in the world, after African Lion and Asian Tiger. They used to once roam the entire continent from the southern tip, to the regions surrounding the US. Today they are only found in some remote regions of South and Central America, particularly the Amazon basin.

Their Appearance: Jaguars are mostly tan or orange in color. They have very distinctive black spots on them, also known as "rosettes", as they are shaped like roses. Some Jaguars appear spotless as they are too dark for the markings to be spotted. The spots could be seen only on close inspection for the darker beasts. The rosettes pattern on it can be compared to that of a leopard, but a Jaguar has a much heavier and sturdier built than a leopard.

What they eat: Although Jaguars belong to the cat family, they do not avoid water. In fact they are very good swimmers. The waters help them get meals in the form of fishes, turtles, or small alligator like animals. They also eat large animals like deer, peccaries, capybaras and tapirs. They, at times, climb trees and kill their prey with, mere, one powerful bite. Among all cats Jaguars have the strongest bite force and like pantherines they can roar as well.

Habitat: Jaguars are a native of the western hemisphere. They inhabit the tropical rainforests of South America. Jaguars live alone and they mark their own territories which could be of many square miles. The territories could be marked through their wastes or by clawing trees. They prefer thick, dense moist jungles, where it is easy for them to hunt. They can also be found in close proximity of water, as they are excellent swimmers. They spend most of their time sleeping on trees or hunting in dense forests.

Reproduction: Females give birth to typically two or three cubs. They are generally born between the month of December and March. It is not common for Jaguar cubs to be born throughout the year. Jaguars are blind and helpless at birth. They gain sight after about two weeks. The mother stays with them and protects them from other animals, including their father. The female Jaguar becomes very protective at this stage. The cubs learn to hunt by staying with their mother for two or more years, and later establish their own territory. Two black jaguars can produce a cub with light spots on it, with a litter of blacks. Jaguars can cross breed with both leopards and lions.

Endangered Species: As the Jaguar is a strikingly beautiful animal, it has always caught the attention of many scientists and hunters. Many Jaguars are poached for their distinctively patterned fur. Along with this, due to loss of habitat within the jaguar kingdom, their population is declining tremendously, making it an endangered species.

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