Jaguars are beautiful feline creatures that live in the rainforests. They are the largest cats in South America. Jaguars are also predator animals and have a varied diet.
Since jaguars are hunters, they pursue their prey by sneaking up on it before attacking. Jaguars are also very quick, so the hunt actually doesn't last very long. The jaguar uses its canine teeth to crack open the skull of its prey, after knocking the animal unconscious with its paw. Jaguars tend to hunt larger animals after not having a large meal for a few days, and eat small animals on a daily basis.
Jaguars often hunt deer for food and can feed off this "meal" for a few days. Jaguars also eat tapirs, which are mammals that are somewhat pig-shaped with snouts. Jaguars are very good at climbing trees and will often pounce on their prey from the tree, killing the deer or tapir with one bite to the neck. Adult jaguars live and hunt alone, which is part of what makes the food last longer. Jaguars have also been known to eat livestock such as cows and sheep, which is why many ranchers kill any jaguars that are near their animals.
When jaguars are not eating deer and tapirs, the animals will also eat monkeys, rodents and sloths. The jaguar captures these animals with one single pounce and kills the prey within seconds. These animals are often eaten on a daily basis as a form of constant sustenance for the jaguar.
Jaguars, unlike other cats, are very good swimmers and are surprisingly fond of the water. Because of this, the jaguar is able to hunt animals like turtles and fish. Jaguars also eat small, alligator-like animals called caimans, which live in rivers. Since the jaguars are able to crack the skulls of their prey, they can easily crack a turtle's shell to get to the meat.
Jaguars have been known to attack and eat humans. However, animal researchers believe that jaguars will only attack if they feel threatened. It is less likely that humans will be harmed in any way by jaguars if hunters and poachers allow the jaguars to thrive freely in their natural habitat. According to National Geographic, jaguars are hunted for their fur, even though hunting jaguars just for their skin has been prohibited.
- Photo Credit Jaguar image by Moyra Miller from Fotolia.com
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