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Jaguar

Panthera onca

The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas. Its muscular, compact frame is built for strength and stealth rather than extended pursuit. A jaguar’s jaws can crush the skulls of small mammals and can even pierce turtle shells. For larger prey, it pounces, bringing down the victim by wrenching the head with a swipe of its wide paw.

These jaguars are seeking prey at dusk, as is typical for large predators. Sometimes siblings and mating pairs travel together, but usually jaguars roam alone. Young males may wander hundreds of miles to establish territory, which they mark in their catlike way: by spraying, cheek-rubbing and claw-raking.

American Museum of Natural History

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