Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees. Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father.
Fight for Land
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Hunting Unlike many other cats, jaguars do not avoid water; in fact, they are quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans—small, alligatorlike animals. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as deer, peccaries, capybaras, and tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas. The jaguar has a compact body, a broad head and powerful jaws. Its coat is normally yellow and tan, but the color can vary from reddish brown to black. The spots on the coat are more solid and black on the head and neck and become larger rosette-shaped patterns along the side and back of the body.
At best, only an estimated 15,000 jaguars remain in the wild. Bi-national conservation efforts have been successful at protecting a small population of 80 to 120 cats in the remote mountains of Sonora, Mexico bordering Arizona. This population is the largest of three known to remain in Sonora, and is the last hope for recovery in the United States.