Jaguar looking to the left as it climbs down a tree trunk


Spotted beauty


giant panda



South America

South America

Endangered Status



Up to 6 feet
The average bed is 74 inches long.
Jaguar compared in size to a bed

Jaguars eat many animals, including turtles, fish, peccaries, deer, tapirs, cattle, capybaras, and caimans. 

rain forests,
swamps, grasslands, and more
Rainforest habitat leaves

Jaguars live mainly in rain forests, but they can survive in other habitats, too—including grasslands, deserts, forests, and swamps.


Black jaguar sitting in front of green foliage.

Jaguar? Panther?

Most jaguars have orange-brown fur with black spots, but some have black-on-black coloration. So, are they black panthers? No! “Panther” is just a general term that comes from Panthera, the scientific name for big cats. It is also sometimes used to describe leopards, jaguars, and mountain lions.

Jaguar prowling on a tree branch

Waiting for dinner

Jaguars can run quickly, but they hide and wait for their food to stroll by instead of chasing it like cheetahs and lions do. Their large jaw muscles allow them to kill their prey by piercing the skull with their sharp teeth.

Jaguar cub with one paw holding onto tree branch as another dangles

Threats to jaguars

As people move into jaguar habitat, these cats have started feeding on livestock. Ranchers often respond by trapping and poisoning the jaguars. Logging, mining, and farming also leave less food and habitat for jaguars, causing them to become endangered.

Jaguars are the only big cat species in the New World , and are found in South America, Central America, and North America.


unique features

Jaguar standing on snow covered ground
Jaguar swimming in shallow water

This cat swims!

Jaguars like the water—and they are very good swimmers.

Jaguar mother with young cub

Growing baby jaguars

Jaguar mothers give birth to 1 to 4 cubs, which are born with eyes and ears closed. Their eyes open 3 to 13 days later, their teeth appear by the time they are 1 month old, and the cubs are able to follow their mother at 6 to 8 weeks old.