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Jaguar Panthera onca


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credit:  Bj¯rn Christian T¯rrissen/CCSA

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Family: Felidae, Cats view all from this family

Description The largest cat in the New World, Jaguars are unmistakable, powerfully built, spotted cats. Coat is tawny-colored with large black rosettes. Rosettes are also visible in the rare black morph.

Dimensions 1.7-2.4m, 52-67cm, 79-158kg; / 1.6-2.2m, 43-60cm, 31-85kg

Endangered Status The Jaguar is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This cat was once a regular inhabitant of the U.S., but now apparently only wanders north of Mexico. The settlement of the West contributed to its decline, as development modified the Jaguar's historical habitat and proximity with humans caused other problems. Jaguars were often killed for fear that they preyed on livestock, as well as for their fur, which was quite coveted. Although no Jaguars are currently known to be breeding in the U.S., individuals are still seen north of Mexico, mainly in Arizona.

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Swamps, marshes & bogs

Range Southwest, Texas

Discussion Active any time of day. The US population was hunted to extinction in the 1800s, but recent sightings in Arizona suggest the possibility of reestablishment. They are active both day and night. Solitary hunters of large and medium-sized prey in warm forests and desert scrub, they prefer streamside and wetter habitats.