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The Jaguar, Panthera onca Linnaeus, is the largest of the spotted American cats; form robust; tail relatively short and tapering; ears small, short, and rounded, without tufts; pelage short and rather bristly; upperparts spotted at all ages; ground color buffy to tan, spots blackish, often with light-colored centers; underparts and inner surfaces of legs white, heavily spotted with black; tail with irregular black markings. Dental formula as in the mountain lion, but canines relatively smaller. External measurements of an adult male: total length, 1,933 mm; tail, 533 mm; female, 1,574-432 mm; height at shoulder of a large male, 712 mm. Weight, up to 90 kg; one male from Texas weighed 63.6 kg; another, 42 kg.

Distribution in Texas
The jaguar inhabits the dense chaparral and timbered sections of the New World tropics and seldom ventures into the high, cooler inland areas. Apparently, it was once fairly common over southern Texas and nearly the whole of the eastern part of the state to Louisiana and north to the Red River. The last verified records of the jaguar in Texas are from near the turn of the century and this beautiful cat is now extirpated from the state. The jaguar is listed as "endangered" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Jaguars are the third largest cat of the world, ranking behind the tiger and African lion. In spite of their large size and powerful build, however, jaguars (el tigre of the Mexicans) are shy and retiring. They seldom, if ever, attack man unless cornered or at bay. They are thought to roam over a large territory, much as does the mountain lion, and nowhere are they abundant.

Their food habits are not well-known. In Mexico, they are known to prey on peccaries; many of the Mexicans believe that each large herd of peccaries is trailed by a jaguar so that he can feed on the stragglers. They probably prey also on deer and large ground-dwelling birds. Jaguars are reputed to be so destructive of cattle and horses that the larger Mexican ranches retain a "tiger hunter" to kill them or at least to drive them away. Jaguars are also fond of sea turtle eggs and they roam the beaches on spring nights to dig up and eat the eggs that are buried in the sand.

The den is a rocky cave or the security of a dense, thorny thicket. The mating season is in December and January, and the two to four young are born in April or May after a gestation period varying from 93 to 110 days. The kittens are covered with woolly fur, are heavily spotted at birth, and have their eyes closed. When about 6 weeks old they are as large as house cats and begin to follow their parents about. The parents mate at least for the season of parenthood, and both cooperate in rearing the young, although most of the burden falls on the mother. The family unit is maintained until the kittens are nearly a year old, at which time they begin to fend for themselves.


Author:Paleo Comment Left:03/27/2007 22:21
I hope in my life I get to see many of the large preditors reintroduced into the wilds of Texas. Including the juguar and red wolf, along with the further spread of the black bear.
Author:DANBURYRODANDGUNCLUB23 Comment Left:04/04/2007 11:59
I wished they would re introduce them like the wolf. These are truly magnificant animals.
Author:bd13fishing Comment Left:04/07/2007 11:56
Yeah but they would eat everything up and prob attack people, but they are for sure magnificant animals
Author:mrbigtexan Comment Left:10/26/2007 13:33
they are really beautiful
Author:Jaguar Comment Left:12/20/2007 12:45
I would like to see all three species of wild cats the Jaguar, Ocelot, and Margay (reintroduced) to Texas and surrounding states where the habitat is appropriate.  I am a white tailed deer hunter and am truly  in awe of predators when I see them while hiking or hunting. I would love to have the opportunity to see these three native tropical cats in the states. To be be in a deer stand and witness one of these cats basking on a limb or stalking prey would just complete the hunting experience.

   Two years ago I traveled to Central America for 11 days in the hope to catch a glimpse of one of our 6 native cats but only saw foot prints and two scratched/marked tree trunks. This trip cost me 5k and while it was a beautiful trip it would cost much less to try and see the cats here in the states where they used to be. 

     Habitat fragmentation and or destruction is one problem but I believe and hate to say that the biggest hurdle we have to jump concerning reintroduction of wild predators in area in the states is education, especially with my fellow hunters. Predators like Bear, Wolf, Coyotes, Fox or Feline species do occassionally take strong healthy animals but more frequently prey on very young, old, weak, sick or injured animals. This is a huge benefit to any ecosystem as well as to the hunters within that ecosystem. One often hears that risk of predators eating up all the game animals. I will have to be honest with you in my area there 20 deer per square mile and that is way too many. I would be thrilled to walk outside and see a Couger or Jaguar take down a mature doe. We certainly need more predators in the states. We humans have the tendacy to think we are the only ones that should be allowed to take game animals. Where is the balance????

     The wild tropical cats are truly magnificent animals and I vote to reintroduce them where appropriate and when the education is under way.


                                       I HAVE NEVER FELT SO ALIVE 

      An American we met in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica was backpacking across the park (a 4 day trip). He said that one night he got up to relieve himself and heard something. When he turned his flash light his stream suddenly stopped as two green glowing eyes of a Jaguar was watching him from about 50' away. I asked him what it was like to be standing away from tent with his unit hanging out while a Jaguar watched and he said that 'HE HAD NEVER FELT MORE ALIVE THAN HE DID AT THAT MOMENT' He said it made a deep grouling rumble a walked off. These are stories you one hears about back country jungle experiences form the people lucky enough to encounter this awsome creature. 

 Jim Rodgers

Concerning exotic cats including all native American cats such as the cougar,  jaguar, Oncilla, Ocelot, Margay, Jaguarundi, and Goeffery's Cat as well as or animal species around the globe there is no better way to assure the total survival of a species than to keep the pure freedom this country was founded on alive and let the public citizens with an serious desire to keep said species in captivity. The breeding programs that were developed in the 50's, 60's, 70's and early 80's thrived and proved that many of the rare species would breed well in captivity. The imperial government with all it's wisdom?????? killed all private captive endavors decided that it new better how to save the various species. The private research, specific husbandry, dietary and housing needs and breeding of wild animals in the states has suffered serious decline because of government regulations. This in turn killed the ability for such interested citizens from achieving their full potential and dreams of discovering all of the Feline needs. Successful Margay, oncilla and Ocelots and domestic house cats were bred to create a lovely tabby cat personality that had a wild tropical patterned coat. The true intent was to take the pressure off of the wild populations from the pet trade. But all that was stopped with most of the tropical cats dying out in the states because most only live to 15 - 20 years. This leaves us with only a handful of zoos with any collections of wild cats and very little effort to breed them for future release or for the hybridzing for the pet trade because now it tis illegal.

    I do agree that habitat must be saved and education plays a very important part of the conservation of Americas wild cats. This are are in agreement on.

    The one thing that disturbs me most is the people that do not think out side of the box on an issue. Captive breeding programs benefits most all species equally as well as saving habitat. Much knowledge was gain during the early years of captive husbandry and breeding of especially the small Central and South American wild cats. Success were becoming common place for the interested parties with certain species that put together great facilities to house in a stimulating way these inquisitive wild cats happy in captivity. This provided extra animals to turn loose with habitat was secured as well as it took to stress of the wild populations for the pet trade ( People with a true commitment to house and keep healthy such a fun, energetic, rambunctious, warm and cuddly cat should have the free right to their choice of endeavors. That is what this country was founded on!

      Government in it's infinite knowledge discourages the general public from use their creative and observant minds from participating in the equally important part of conservation. There is always someone with a better understanding and more effective way do do something if you allow them to participate.

      I see that most people that consider themselves conservationists can't wait until government takes over every aspect of one life and mind and puts us to work as brain dead worker bees.

You can leave your opinion at

Jim Rodgers
Author:oteh234 Comment Left:12/16/2008 04:26

yes........there are jaguars in texa

Author:JPeach88 Comment Left:10/05/2011 14:37

  The danger of a Jaguar attack is about the same as that of a cougar or black bear. The myth that these cats are out to kill man is just that, a myth. I've been seeking an agency that would allow me to explore the idea with them a controled reintorduction of the lost "big cats" of Texas. Jaguars, Ocelots, and Jaguarundi are stated as endangered by the Texas State Fish and Wildlife commission. But unlike the Red Wolf, who is being reintroduced, I have yet to see or hear of the reintorduction of these cats. The thing that baffles me is that the United States Government has so much to "say" about being pro-conservation, but in the same breath deny its citizens the ability to create and ensure that a species, of anykind, can have a safe place to live and thrive.

  The fact that not only the US government, but also the Texas government deny us this right to be a steward for our own country is baffeling to me. I would love to go hiking in south Texas and hear they yell of a Jaguar, the howl of a Red Wolf, and the groans and roars of a Black Bear, ALL in the same area. I want my kids to be able to grow up hearing these samethings. Farmers need not fear much from these cats, theres is PLENTY of deer and hogs in south Texas from them to grow fat and happy.

 These cats arent man eatters, they arent known for killing swaths of cattle or livestock, they are effeciant killers of deer, pigs, and rodents. South Texas farmers have a big problem with the feral pig, the Jaguar could be part of the solution.