The jaguar, scientific name Panthera onco, is the largest of the big cats of South America and the third largest in the world.

While best identified by their orange or tan fur with black spots, some jaguars are so dark in colour that it can be difficult to make out their spots. They can grow up to 1.8 metres long and weigh up to 113 kilograms.

Unlike other big cat, jaguars are excellent swimmers allowing them to access food from rivers including fish and turtles along with land-dwelling prey like deer and tapirs.

Jaguars are now only found in noteworthy numbers in remote areas of South and Central America. They tend to live alone and strongly defend their territory.

Females have between one and four cubs per litter, who they must protect from all dangers – even their father.

Jaguars are classified as near threatened, a result of still being widely hunted for their striking fur and sometimes killed by farmers for attacking livestock

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