Jaguars have brown or yellow fur with dark, round markings, called rosettes, which consist of a circle with a spot in the middle. They are sometimes completely black. Often confused with leopards, they have bigger heads and thicker bodies than their cousins and the markings are different as well.
Jaguars live in rain forests, woodlands and grasslands and often near water. They give birth to from one to four young in a den, usually found in thorn thickets or under the roots of large trees. Young jaguars live with their mothers for the first two years. Males and females hunt alone but they may roam the forests together. Jaguars are good swimmers and are also skilled at fishing. A jaguar may move the tip of its tail in the water to lure fish toward it.
They hunt by stalking their prey and get as close as they can before leaping and make a quick kill by biting on the neck of their victim. They are specialists in lying in wait. They place themselves in areas of prey whose habits they have studied. If the prey is small they stun it and break its skull; if the prey is bigger, they break their cervical vertebrae. If the animal escapes their first attack, they will track it until the right moment for the kill.
They are also very good tree climbers and sometimes hunt for monkeys or birds up in the trees since they are able to leap quickly from branch to branch as they chase their prey. Moreover, they like to sleep in trees.
Jaguars will eat all kinds of meat, including cattle, deer, monkey, birds, fish, lizards, caimans and insects. They also have strong jaws to kill and eat animals with hard shells such as turtles or armadillos and will eat meat left by other animals. Generally they will not eat their prey at the site of the kill but prefer to drag their victim to a place where they can devour it in peace. They may bury or hide a large kill under leaves or branches and then come back and eat it for two or three days.
The territory of a jaguar depends on the presence of prey. It can vary from 5 to 500 square kilometres. Each male will have a separate territory but may welcome several females. You will sometimes hear them roar during the night yet they are rarely seen during the day. They almost never attack people but they will follow them along forest paths. When the rain transforms the underforest into a quagmire, the jaguar will find refuge in the trees and it can then live there for several weeks.
Pantanal Jaguar Expeditions offers to show you places in the Pantanal where jaguars can be seen walking along the rivers or resting in trees during the months of July, August and September. Ask us about custom tours to see Jaguars. And have a look at our tour options.
Kindly note that as we are a small company, we offer about only three to four tours a month, so as we take reservations on a first-come-first-serve basis, if you do not reserve your dates quickly and another customer comes along wanting the same dates and pays us the deposit first then he will be given priority. We emphasize quality in our tours over quantity.