Here are some jaguar sounds – they give some people the chills. The growls and hisses have an extremely menacing nature. Perhaps they are meant to be menacing – nature’s way of improving survival through dominance. The roar strikes fear into other animals including some people.

Jaguars playing in water. Photo by Alan

The following are MP3 audio files. They should work for you but my experience of audio files is not great because of the different formats and the potential for incompatibility with certain software.

Black panther (melanistic jaguar) roar, hiss and snarl

Three jaguar babies

Female jaguar in heat calling

Jaguar cub

The most famous form of jaguar communication is the roar. This stocky wild cat species is third in line for size of all the wild cats and one of four who roar. The roar requires a certain shape and size of larynx.

In the old days naturalists and explorers thought of the jaguar roar as thunder. They also likened it to the roar of the caiman, a South American crocodile.

R. Perry in his book: The World of the Jaguar (1970) describes the jaguar’s roar as:

“five or six repetitions of a short, sharp guttural uh, accelerating and crescending.”

Hunters of the jaguar (are there any left and for what purpose?) imitate the jaguar’s roar by grunting into a gourd or shell. The purpose is obvious: to draw the elusive jaguar closer within the range of the gun or spear.

Males and females roar. There have been recorded instances of two jaguars roaring at each other for two hours. On another occasion four jaguars called back and forth to each other.

The purpose of roaring is still not completely clear as I understand it but it may, in part, function to bring jaguars together to mate.

A.E Ameida a naturalist writing in (I believe) Conservation status of the jaguar states that females in heat travel over wide areas calling for a mate. A single female was accompanied by four males.

The full range of sounds that a jaguar makes has not been documented as far as I am aware. They are said on some websites to meow but I doubt that. The hiss is very deep and almost unrecognizable as we are familiar with the domestic cat hiss.

All the sounds I have heard are deep rumbles and menacing growls and variations on them. I am sure that one of the problems of recording jaguar vocalizations is that the cat is almost certainly captive, in a zoo, and quite possibly being provoked to make some noise. This would result in specific sounds, most often defensive or aggressive sounds. I am not sure we have the full spectrum on record.

Here is a video of jaguar vocalizations:

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I cherish these sounds. I am working on a story set in meso america. It sets a mood. thank you.

    • I am pleased you found the page helpful. The jaguar is a fantastic animal. It has the hardest bite of all the cats by far.

  • Some fierce sounds indeed.
    I tried to find a similarity in them to my little bobcat.
    But, the closest I could come was something in between the babies and the cub.
    I'm wondering if the size of any wildcat makes a difference in their fierce sound.

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