|Scientific name: Panthera onca|
|Range: Southwestern United States to Argentina. It can be found as far south as Patogonia. Also in the Amazon basin, Belize, and northern Guatemala.|
|Habitat: Lowlands, forests, and jungles.|
|Diet in the wild: Carnivorous, wild horses, domestic stock, and dogs. Amazonian jaguars eat fish frogs, turtles, and small alligators|
|Diet in the zoo: nutritionally complete meat diet.|
|Location in the zoo: In the Brushlands of the Texas Wild Life exhibit beside the coyotes.|
Jaguars live a life of solitude
which enables them to roam and learn the land. After mating, the male jaguar
leaves the mom to raise the young and continues a life of solitude.
Cubs stay with the mother for two years, getting lessons in hunting from
mom. They learn what else lives around them and where to find
good food sources. Although they reach sexual maturity at the age
of three, they leave to establish their own territories at the age of two.
A jaguar lives to be about 22 years old.
or behavioral adaptations:
Jaguars have jaws and a large head especially equipped for piecing the skull of their prey with their canines. They are the only big cats which practice this habit. Unlike other large cats, who attack at the neck, jaguars often kill their prey with a single bite to the back of the head. They are called "occipital crunchers."
They are primarily nocturnal with activity
levels high at dawn and dusk. Jaguars are exceptional swimmers to
accommodate their living style. Because they may live in rain forests
and flooded swamp areas this adaptation comes in handy when trying to cool
off or catch food. Jaguars are the only "roaring" cat which also
makes them unique from other large cats.
|Comments about the
jaguars of the Fort Worth Zoo
The jaguars were born in the Guadalajara Zoo in Mexico, and transferred via the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans. The male and female are not related, but are potential breeders. The female was hand-raised by her keepers, and seems to be more inclined to interact with people than the male. Even though the female was hand-raised, she is considered to be a wild animal and keepers take precautions around her. Their diet in the zoo is prepared by the Nutritional Services Department. Thursdays are fast days, on which they receive only bones. This is similar to their feeding habits in the wild.
There are two jaguars at the Fort Worth Zoo. Sadly enough one of them has his/her front right paw missing. The reason the paw is missing is because it was bit off by another jaguar. When I went to visit them they were very active. They played with each other and engaged themselves into a serious wrestling match. The exhibit that they were in seemed really small for as large of an animal as they are. It was about the size of a small class room. Because these animals are typically hunters and roamers, I expected their cage to be much bigger. However the circumstances, they seemed to be two healthy happy.
|Source Materials and Related
CSG Species Accounts:
Freiderici, Peter, "Return of the Jaguar. (animals return to North America, not welcomed by all)." Vol. 36, National Wildlife, 06-16-1998, pp 48(4).
Jaguars: Cyber Zoomobile. http://www.primenet.com/~brendel/jaguar.html
Stacy Johnson, curator for Texas
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WhoZoo Animal Index
Mammals at the Fort Worth Zoo