This is a page on jaguar cat facts written for children and people who like plain language. You can use the information as you wish.
The jaguar is a species or type of wild cat. People who know wild cats well have given it a name in Latin: Panthera onca. The word “Panthera” tells you that this cat is in the same group as the other big cats.
The jaguar is one of the four big cats. The other three are the leopard, lion and tiger. The jaguar is the third biggest wild cat in the world. It can roar.
The jaguar has the hardest bite of all the cats in the world. It is twice as hard as a lion’s bite. This makes it a special sort of hunter because it can kill animals it wants to eat (“prey”) by biting their heads and piercing the animal’s brain. This is unusual because wild cats normally kill prey by either biting their throat and suffocating them or by breaking their neck. The jaguar kills animals this way as well.
The jaguar will eat over 85 different sorts of animal from a turtle egg to a 1000 pound cow. The animals that it catches to eat depends on where the jaguar is.
The jaguar is beautiful. People have named so many things after this wild cat. The best known is the sporty and expensive car made in England, UK, the “jag”. Many sports teams are named after this cat. This shows us how much this strong and fearless cat inspires us. The jaguar has inspired people for thousands of years. Seven hundred years ago the Aztecs of Mexico believed that the sound of thunder was controlled by the jaguar and the best warriors were called Jaguar Knights (see picture below).
The jaguar has a spotted coat that looks like the coat of the leopard. The jaguar spots are larger though. And, actually, the spots are called “rosettes”. These are donut (doughnut) type spots with a black dot or two in the middle of some of them (see picture). On the underside of the cat and on the legs there are solid spots. There are quite a lot of black jaguars too. You can just see the ghostly spots on black jaguars that are called “black panthers”.
The jaguar looks like a leopard but it is a bit bigger and stronger than the leopard. Also the jaguar lives in a different part of the world to the leopard. These cats never meet. The jaguar lives in South America, Central America, Mexico. There are meant to be a few jaguars in America near the border with Mexico. The map shows you where these places are.
The American government want to do their best to bring jaguars back to live in America. They want to do this by making special, large areas called “reserves” where jaguars will like to live. The reserves are going to be in the south of New Mexico and Arizona near the border with Mexico. Then they will bring in jaguars to live in these places.
The jaguar is a large cat and can weigh as much as 350 pounds but in the jungles of the Amazon the male jaguar usually weighs about 190 pounds or 87 kilograms. An American man weighs almost exactly the same. That is an interesting jaguar cat fact, I think. The jaguar though is stronger than a man.
The jaguar likes water as much as the tiger and spends quite a lot of time actually in the water. This means it likes to live near water but the jaguar doesn’t mind living in a lot of different places. The jaguar prefers thick forests but will also live in grassy places and swamps.
Sadly there are less and less jaguars in the world. This is because people chop down the forest where they live and kill the animals the jaguar needs to kill to survive. Also people shoot the jaguar because it kills their cows. It seems that there is no place in the world anymore for this super impressive wild cat.
- Original photo of jaguar at top of page