Beware Its Jaws

By Owen Weller

The Body of a Jaguar

Jaguars are the third largest cat in the world with jaws that can pierce the skull... IN ONE BITE!!! These cats have a short compact body with a broad head and extremely powerful paws and jaws. Jaguar's coat of fur is usually yellow or tan but the color can vary from reddish brown to black. Like other big cats, Jaguars have spots all over their coat of fur. They are completely black and solid on their head and neck but become larger rosette-shaped patterns on the back of it's body.


Jaguars have a huge variety of prey. They will eat deer, peccary, crocodiles, snakes, sloths, tapins, turtles, and frogs on the ground but they will also climb trees and eat monkeys and birds. Surprisingly, jaguars love water. They go into the water to play and will even catch fish! With all those hunting abilities no wonder jaguars are top-level carnivores!

Life Cycle of a Young Jaguar

Jaguars usually have their cubs between December and March. For about 11-13 days newborn cubs stay in their den with their mother. In this period the cubs will open their eyes for the first time. After about 18 days they will start to walk and come out and play. Once the cubs are around 70 days old they will begin to eat dense food. Eventually, when the cubs are six months old they start hunting with their mother. They will hunt with their mother until the cubs are two years old. When the cubs are three years old they will live by themselves. Jaguars reach full size and sexual maturity once they are 2 or 3 for females and 3 to 4 years for males. Males tend to mature slower than females.

A jaguar poncing on its prey

Jaguars vs Leopards

Jaguars and leopards are two very similar felines. Both cats are excellent climbers and swimmers and both animals have strong powerful jaws. They prefer to live alone as adults, except when mating. Every cat has its own home range that vary in size. Usually males have larger home ranges that females. The cats will mark the boundaries of home ranges by urinating the trees or clawing tree barks. Sometimes the Black Jaguar and Black Leopard are confused with Black Panthers. Lastly, both animals stalk their prey until they are close enough to pounce.

Even though jaguars and leopards are very similar they are also very different. Jaguars are all the same species [ they have no subspecies]. But leopards have eight subspecies: Anatolian, North Persian, South Arabian, Amur, Javan, North Chinese and Sri Lankan. People sometimes confuse the jaguar and leopard because of the spots on their back. One difference between the spots is the jaguar's spots become larger rosette shaped spots soon the back of its body while the leopard's spots stay smaller.

Another difference between the cats are that mother jaguars give birth to one to four cubs while leopards give birth to two to three cubs. Leopard cubs stay in their den for eight weeks while jaguar cubs stay in their den for two weeks.

Surprisingly, baby leopards start hunting at three months old while jaguar cubs start hunting at six months. Baby leopards start living alone before they are two while jaguars start living alone at the age of three. As you can see, there are a lot of differences between these two cats.

We must save the jaguars

Jaguars are amazing animals that are sadly, heading toward extinction. Jaguars used to range from Argentina to Arizona. Now they have been almost completely eliminated from the U.S. and are endangered throughout their range. These cats are extremely important to prey population, if they are wiped out then their prey's population will go out of control.

There is one solution to all these problem's : us. In order to save jaguar we must protect them. Maybe, we can even return the cats to the United States. Sadly, not all people feel that way. Farmers see jaguars as threats to their crops and cattle. Hopefully, the government will side with these awesome cats and make it illegal to hunt them.


Jaguars have always been scarce animals but now they are extremely rare. These cats once had fair numbers in the southern United States but due to their reputation as a livestock killers farmers killed them whenever they get near their farms. Sadly, during the 1960s jaguars in Central and South America were hunted for their pelts. During that time about 15,000 jaguars died. Workers are destroying the jaguars habitat. But now these cats face an even greater danger....EXTINCTION!!!