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JAGUAR

Scientific name: Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Jaguar (“Onça-pintada”, “onça-preta”);

Behavior: Crepuscular and nocturnal, terrestrial, solitary;

Habitat: dry scrubland, savanna, wetlands, but mainly the tropical and subtropical forests, including riverine forests.

Diet: Carnivore, especially large mammals such as peccaries, capybara, deer and hog, but they may also feed on reptiles: tortoises, river turtles and alligators.

Geographic distribution: currently found in the coastal plains of Mexico down to the North of Argentina, except in the Andes. In Brazil it formerly occurred in all the territory, but is now restricted to the northern region, including East of Maranhão, parts of Central States, the Pantanal and some isolated areas in the South and Southeast.

Reproduction: the gestation period is from 90 to 111 days, and the average litter is two (1-4).

Description: The jaguar is the largest cat of the Americas. It is stocky and muscled, averaging 132 cm long (110-175cm) with a relatively short tail (48-68 cm), and the average weight is 61 kg (35-130 kg). Coat color ranges from very light yellow to ocher-brown, and the whole body is covered with broken-edged rosettes around small black spots. Melanism is frequent (black). The two varieties of Brazilian jaguars, “onca preta” (black jaguar) and “onça pintada”( dotted jaguar) belong in the same species and may breed either black or dotted cubs in the same litter. A black jaguar may also present the same dotted pattern.

Status: Included in the Brazilian Official List of Endangered Brazilian Mammals (IBAMA). CITES - appendix I and UICN Vulnerable;

MAIN THREATS: Altered habitat, with the ensuing reduction of prey availability. Also, because they are livestock predators, they are frequently hunted.

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