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JAGUARS

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belize jaguar

The Jaguar is the third largest "big cat" species in the world, only the tiger and the lion are larger. The size of a jaguar depends on the region it lives. Geographical barriers such as the Amazon river keep certain gene pools from mixing. Jaguars in Central America tend to be smaller then ones in Brazil.

The geographic range of jaguars stretches over 19 countries from northern Mexico to Northern Argentina. Jaguars are almost extinct in the United States. The only known population of jaguars in the United States lives south of Tucson Arizona. Before the 1900's jaguars in the United States ranged from mid-Louisiana to the Pacific Ocean and as far north as Phoenix Arizona.

Jaguars are strictly carnivorous and can only eat meat. Scientific research shows that there are over 80 species of animals that a jaguar will prey on. Jaguars usually will kill only animals that are under 700 pounds but, is capable of killing an animal as heavy as 800 pounds. However, a jaguar may only eat about 55 to 65 pounds of meat in a single sitting, starting with its' preys chest and neck areas.

Deep in the rainforest is the preferred habitat for the jaguar. However, the terrain a jaguar can be found in, ranges from heavily forested to open grassland. Jaguars love being around water and is noted, along with the tiger, as one of few feline species that enjoys swimming.

One difference that jaguars have compared to other "big cat" species is that jaguars will very rarely attack a human being. Most cases where a jaguar has been reported to have attacked a human means that the animal was probably weak, so a human was the easiest prey option and that person was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you ever happen upon a jaguar in the wild, or if one ever approaches: STAND STILL! And, this one goes against most people's instinct to turn and run, however, you should NEVER turn your back on a jaguar! Please, make sure you stay safe when walking in jaguar territory and NEVER go alone into an area that is known to be inhabited by jaguar. ~Anthony Benjamin


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