Jaguars

SJ

Description:

The jaguar is the largest and most powerful wild cat in the Western Hemisphere, being 4 to 7 feet long, excluding the tail, which is approximately 45 to 75 centimeters long, and is about 3 feet high at the shoulder. Jaguars can be different colors, but are usually yellow-brownish with black spots, like leopards, though some jaguars can be white. A jaguar's fur on its side and back is spotted with large black rosettes, each made of a circle of spots around a central spot. The spots on its head, legs, and underside are solid black.

Food Chain and Habitat

Jaguars are found on the American continents in Texas, the Cerro Colorado mountains in Arizona, southern California, and New Mexico in the United States, and are also found in the Central & South American rain forests. They eat more than 80 different kinds of prey, one of them being cattle (which is one reason why they're hunted). They eat almost any kind of animal, including deer, their favorite, wild pigs, iguanas, turtles,horses, rodents, peccaries, fish, sheep, crocodiles, armadillos, birds, and tapirs.

Adaptations:

  • Hindlimbs that are longer than the forelimbs to improve jumping
  • A rough tongue designed to peel skin away from flesh and flesh away from bones
  • Long, retractile claws to help grab and hold prey
  • loose belly skin that can be kicked by prey with unlikely chance of being injured

Reasons for Endangerment & Critical Information

The jaguar is endangered because it's hunted for its fur, and farmers kill jaguars because they killed their cattle. Jaguars are known to be so destructive of cattle and horses that the larger Mexican ranches have a 'tiger hunter' to kill or at least drive them away. Poaching jaguars is still a problem, since there's a large demand for their coats. Today, there's still poaching, but not nearly as common as before. Prized furs, such as leopard, cheetah, or jaguar fur is no longer allowed in the countries they're indigenous to, and many other countries forbid their importation. The Federal Endangerment Species Act forbids the importation and sale of these furs in the United States. There are also special laws that protect certain North American species enforced in the United States and Canada, and wildlife refugees have been set up to protect jaguars.