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Jaguar (Panthera onca) Eng. Jaguars

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English Jaguar

The third largest in the world, and the largest representative of the cat family in the New World. The species range extends from Mexico south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Body length without tail up to 185 cm, tail about 60 cm, weight up to 150 kg.

Jaguar lifestyle is single. Like all predatory cats, a jaguar is a territorial beast, the territory of one jaguar takes from 25 (for females) to 100 square kilometers, depending on the landscape and the amount of game, as well as the gender of the beast. The jaguar is extremely intolerant of other felids (in particular, to cougars) on its territory, but is quite peaceful towards its relatives, and the hunting territories of the jaguars often intersect.

Jaguar is a twilight predator. His most active hunting hours occur after sunset and before dawn.

Nutrition: The main prey is capybaras and ungulates like deer Mazam, bakers and tapirs, but it also attacks birds, monkeys, foxes, snakes, rodents. The jaguar also hunts for turtles - its powerful jaws are able to bite their shell.

Reproduction: The jaguar does not have a specific breeding season. The female is ready for mating in the third year of life. Although the jaguar is a solitary animal, they can be collected in small groups during weddings. It is characteristic that there are almost no fights between males, and the choice of a partner completely depends on the female. After this choice, the bride goes to the chosen one's territory. The male remains with the female only for the period of mating.

About 100 days after conception, in the den among the stones, in a dense shrub or hollow, the female gives birth to two or four cubs. Their pattern is more black than that of the parents, and it does not consist of outlets, but of solid spots. Young jaguars spend six weeks in the den, and they hunt with their mother until they find a suitable territory for hunting.

Habitat: Tropical rain forests and grasslands, but the beast is found in semiarid areas, overgrown with xerophytic shrubs. He was met in mountain forests, at an altitude of up to 2000 m, and on the ocean coast, where a predator searches for and digs up turtle eggs.

Conservation Status: species is listed in the International Red Book.

Animal at the zoo: At the end of 2012, the collection of the Minsk Zoo was replenished with a pair of jaguars. A young male, nicknamed Angel, arrived in Minsk from the Leningrad Zoo. A six-month-old female Lada arrived from Lipetsk. And in December 2013, the Tbilisi Zoo donated to the Minsk Zoo a two-year-old male black jaguar. He was given the nickname Baht.

Jaguar Description

Spotted wild panther cat - America's largest predator. The height of the largest representatives of the species at the withers is 68-80 cm, an average of 75 cm. Jaguars have a flexible graceful body about 120-180 cm long, and their tail can be short - 45-50 cm or reach 70-90 cm. Depending by size, animals weigh from 68 to 136 kg. Like almost all mammals, females are about 1/5 smaller and lighter than males.

It is interesting! The record weight recorded in the male jaguar was 158 kg.

Jaguars living in open spaces are usually larger than their counterparts living in dense forests. Perhaps this is due to the large herds of ungulates living in the steppe zones, and as a result - more successful hunting of predators.

Appearance

  • Head and torso. Power and strength lies in the appearance of this giant cat. Square strong jaws contrast sharply with a thin lean body. It is this feature that distinguishes the jaguar from the leopard, which looks very similar in color to it - larger sizes and a massive head, similar to a tiger with a skull. The ears are small, mobile, have a rounded shape.
  • Jaguar paws not as long as they should have been for perfect grace, so the beast looks a bit squat. But they are very powerful, and often demonstrate strength, not speed, although the jaguars run very quickly, as they attack.
  • Jaguar wool soft, thick and short. The background of the body can have different shades of sand and red, dark spots of various shapes and sizes are randomly scattered around it: continuous darkening, rings, rosettes, whose nutriments are several tones darker than the rest of the body. The lower surface of the body is the stomach, throat and chest, the paws inside are white. The head and paws are strewn with black specks. Ears are black, with a yellow speck in the middle.
  • Sounds made. During the hunt, the jaguar does not growl, but grumbles low, gutturally. At night, he terrifies the jungle with a deafening roar resembling a lion's. The usual voice of the jaguar is similar in sound to the screech of a saw on a tree or a hoarse cough. In the mating season, he rumbles and purrs.

The jaguar genes have a black color, like that of panthers, which is not so rarely manifested by the birth of monochrome cubs (melanists) in ordinary spotted individuals. Everyone was surprised by the small “panthers” born of a pair of jaguars in the Odessa Zoo: of the 4 kittens, two were spotted and two were tar black.

Lifestyle and behavior

Like all cats, jaguars choose and “keep” their territory. They do it alone. A space from 25 to 100 square kilometers can “belong” to one beast; males usually have twice as much as females. Males choose triangular sections for themselves, every 2-3 days changing the “corner” in which they hunt.

About once a decade, a jaguar bypasses its possessions along the border. By vigilantly guarding the territory from other feline representatives - cougars, ocelots, etc., the jaguar does not object to crossing borders with another representative of its kind.

Jaguar time - twilight. Before sunset and in the wee hours, he is especially active in hunting. A predator ambushes in tall grass, on tree branches, hiding on the shore near a watering hole. He throws himself at an unsuspecting victim from the back or from the side, grabbing his neck tightly, trying to immediately strangle or pierce the skull with fangs. The last feature is the habits of a jaguar exclusively; other cats rarely bite their heads.

It is interesting! If cattle serve as prey, the jaguar seeks to knock it to the ground in a big way to hit its head and injure before killing. Often they don’t even need to use their fangs - the victim simply breaks his neck.

If the potential prey has sensitive ears and heard the beast before he rushes, she is lucky - she has a chance to escape, the jaguar rarely rushes in pursuit. But in the water, a jaguar, perfectly swimming and loving this element, will easily catch up with its victim. There are cases of jaguars attacking crocodiles, catching fish, hunting turtles. The jaguar infrequently attacks a person, and never does this if he is not given an aggressive reason. All skirmishes of people with jaguars are self-defense of the latter. They do not eat human meat. However, a curious young animal can pursue a person out of curiosity.

Habitat, habitat

The northern border of the habitat of the jaguars lies along the Mexican steppes and the southwestern states of the United States. Animals settle down to the northern borders of Argentina and Paraguay, as well as the coast of Venezuela. The largest individuals of the jaguars live in the state of Brazil, Mato Grosso. The largest populations of jaguars are concentrated in the Amazon valley.

For life, a jaguar needs several components:

  • water source nearby habitat,
  • thick greens for camouflage while hunting,
  • potential production in sufficient quantities.

Nature provided them with such resources in tropical rainforests, coastal reeds, river valleys, and near marshes. In arid areas, jaguars are almost never found. But they can climb into the mountains, however, no higher than 2700 m (inhabitants of the Andes). Jaguars were once met in Costa Rica at an altitude of 3800 m, but this was an isolated case, usually mountain forests do not attract them.

Jaguar diet

Jaguar - predator, strictly carnivorous creature. He preys on a variety of prey, according to researchers, about 85 species of various animals fell into his teeth, according to researchers. He is capable of sacrifice, which weighs up to 300 kg. The most desired victim for the jaguar are large "meat" animals - ungulates, pig-like, including livestock.

The jaguar does not disdain a monkey, bird, fox, porcupine, small rodents and even reptiles. Alive by the water, this big cat enjoys fishing.

A special delicacy for the jaguar is the tortoise: powerful jaws easily crack the durable shell. Jaguar loves to feast on turtle eggs, tearing a masonry out of the sand. The noble beast almost never eats carrion. He begins to eat the freshly killed victim from the head, moving to the ham. If fortunate enough to kill a large animal, the jaguar will not depart from it for several days in a row.

Natural enemies

The most important and dangerous enemy for a jaguar is a man hunting him because of his beautiful fur. In nature, this king of the jungle has virtually no competitors and threats: in its habitat, it is the highest in the food chain.

Important! For the territory it can fight with large cougars, usually dominating them, but sometimes getting serious injuries.

During the hunt, the jaguars sometimes encounter serious and dangerous opponents - caimans, although they even pull out 2-meter monsters from their native element. Hunting large reptiles, they occasionally can themselves become a victim of anaconda or boa constrictor.

Breeding and offspring

Jaguars do not have a specific mating season. A female ready for mating (from the age of 3 years) “informs” the males about this, labeling the trees with urine, and also emitting characteristic “vocals” to which the males respond with hoarse, guttural screams.

It is interesting! Some jaguar hunters lured them, imitating the female's mating call. Jaguars, usually single, only in this case can be combined into groups.

But the males do not fight among themselves, the choice is made exclusively by the bride and temporarily moves to the site of his chosen one.

After mating, they separate. The female arranges her den among the thickets, in a hidden hollow or cave, where after 100 days of pregnancy she gives birth to 2-4 kittens. Small jaguars are not as spotty as their parents; thick black spots predominate in their fur. Mother does not let them out of the den in the first 1.5 months of their life.

However, they suck mother’s milk for about 5-6 months. Mother begins to take them with her to the hunt until they grow up and can occupy an independent territory, usually about 2 years. Only about half of the born cubs survive to puberty. Jaguar can give offspring by interbreeding with a panther or leopard.

Population and species status

Man greatly damaged populations of jaguars by hunting them to protect his flocks and for the sake of fine fur. They used to be met in Uruguay and in El Salvador, now they are exterminated there. Due to increased hunting activity, the habitat area of ​​the jaguars decreased by 2/3 of the original. Without even hunting, a person reduces the places suitable for habitation of these predators.

Today, hunting for jaguars is prohibited, but, unfortunately, poaching is ongoing. This species is listed as endangered by the IUCN International Red Book. However, Brazil, Mexico, and Bolivia are allowed to hunt them with certain restrictions.

What eats

A jaguar is a typical predator whose diet consists of approximately 87 animal species. Among his favorite prey are capybara and cayman. Jaguars also hunt deer, anteater, tapir, snakes (including the anacondas), waterfowl and fish. Its prey can be a monkey, fox, iguana, possum, otter, rodents, nosuha, freshwater turtles and armadillos. On the coasts, jaguars look for eggs of sea turtles or attack females during laying. Jaguars can also hunt pets, for example, cattle.

Where dwells

The habitat of the jaguars begins in Central America and continues to Mexico and northern Argentina. The largest individuals were observed in Brazil. But on the territory of El Salvador and Uruguay, these predators were completely exterminated. In general, the modern range of the jaguars has become less than the original one third.

Where the jaguars live

The main places of their life are tropical rain forests and grasslands, as well as mountain forests, at altitudes up to 2000 m above sea level, ocean coasts.

Behavior

Jaguars lead a solitary lifestyle. Like other predatory cats, they are territorial animals, and each individual occupies from 25 km2 (for females) to 50 km2 or more (for males). Hunting areas of males are usually triangular, and their area allows the animal to move to a new piece every 3-4 days in search of prey. The jaguar visits its border points about once every two weeks. Therefore, this predator is often called a vagabond that staggers around the selva. Jaguars are very intolerant of other felids (for example, cougars) in their territories, but are peace-loving towards relatives.

Hunting

Jaguar is a twilight predator. He actively hunts after sunset and before dawn. The main method of his hunt is an ambush on trees or among tall grass. Usually an animal arranges it on the banks of a pond. Attacking the victim, the jaguar jumps on it from the back or from the side, grabs its neck, trying to knock it to the ground, which usually leads to instant death. If the victim finds a predator and runs away, then the jaguars usually do not pursue it. A large jaguar can be divided into two meals, but no more; it does not feed on carrion.

During the hunt, the jaguars make low jerky, guttural sounds; they roar deafeningly at night and during the mating season.

Threats

In many regions of its former distribution, jaguars were completely exterminated. This is due both to a change in the natural habitats of animals, and to fishing for the purpose of extracting their valuable hides, and to the shooting by cattle breeders who were afraid for their herds.

Jaguar in the reserve

Today, jaguars are listed in the International Red Book and are protected in many countries. Limited shooting is permitted in Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia.

Interesting facts about the jaguar:

Interesting facts about the jaguar

  • Jaguars rarely attack humans, and they will never do so unless provoked. These predators are not aggressive, but rather curious, often chasing people through the forest, without any hostile intentions.
  • The American aborigines of the jaguar, as one of the most powerful predators of the continent, were very respected and appreciated. Among the Olmecs, the predator was the main cult hero and occupied a central place in the pantheon of the gods. The Mayans also worshiped the jaguars, and the leaders wore their skins and helmets in the shape of their heads as symbols of supreme authority.
  • According to Native American legends, jaguars are able to imitate the cries of any birds and animals to lure them. Brazilian hunters attributed to the jaguars the ability to hypnotize their victims.
  • The name "Jaguar" is the automobile company, known for the production of high-end sports cars.

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