Five fascinating facts about jaguars you should know
Big and mighty jaguars are one of the most ferocious four-legged creatures out in the wild. Not only do they boast of a cool name that literally translates to "he who kills with one leap", they are known for their beautiful fur and the unique pattern on it. Here are five fascinating facts about these endangered big cats, you might not know.
Jaguars are big!
Found mainly in South and Central America, jaguars happen to be the biggest cats in Americas and the third-largest (in size) in the world, following the lion and the tiger. Fully-grown adult jaguars range in length from 4 to 8 feet (including the tail). Their weight can reach upto as much as 250 pounds. Male jaguars are generally heavier than female counterparts.
What do jaguars and roses have in common?
Any guesses as to how jaguars are connected to roses? Yes, those remarkable spots on the animal's fur. The spots present on a jaguar's body are called rosettes, as they resemble the shape of the flower. The key difference between jaguars and leopards (who also have somewhat similar spots) is that jaguars have a mark at the center of their rosettes, while leopards don't.
Jaguars tend to stay aloof
Jaguars, especially male ones, are not known for their friendliness. In fact, they roam around, go out hunting, and stay mostly on their own, while coming together only when it's time to mate. They often use their scent to mark their territory. It is the female who usually raises the cubs, until they are around two years old.
Jaguars are great swimmers
Dismissing the myth that all cats are averse to water, jaguars are mostly found near waters and prefer swampland or tropical rain-forest as their habitat. In fact, these powerful big cats are great at swimming and move around smoothly in water. What's more? They are capable of hunting down crocodiles and other tough-skinned animals such as turtles, as they swim skilfully in rivers/ponds.
Their numbers are declining
However mighty and amazing these creatures may be, it's inevitable to mind that their territory is shrinking and their populations are declining. High deforestation rates have largely affected their habitat and made breeding increasingly harder. Further, despite being illegal, poaching is also a threat-factor for jaguars, as their paws, teeth and skin are sought in markets like China for making traditional medicine, ornaments.