Jaguar the Book

Topics: Jaguar, Felidae, Lion Pages: 2 (711 words) Published: December 6, 2005
The Jaguar

The book I read for this report was on Jaguars, their size, possible extinction, their behavior, and their habitat. The scientific name, Panthera Onca, is known to most people as the jaguar. Panthera is Greek, meaning "hunter," and onca is Greek for "hook" or "barb," which is talking about the animal's claws. In South America the name for it is yaguar, which means a beast that kills its prey with one bound, or he who kills with one leap. The jaguar is on the endangered species list in the United States, Central, and South America. The jaguar is the largest cat in the western hemisphere and the third largest cat in the world. It is the only large cat in North America other than the American Lion, which was killed off after the last ice age about eleven thousand years ago. Like all cats, the jaguar's front feet have five toes, and the back have four. They can reach a length of 6 feet and a height of 2.5 to 3 feet. The tail of the jaguar is normally around twenty-six to twenty-eight inches. Female's range from 100 to 200 pounds and the males range between 125 to 250 pounds, the largest ones weighing around 333 pounds. The females are usually ten- twenty percent smaller than the males. According to one Indian myth, the jaguar got its markings by dabbing mud on its body with its own paws. The jaguar's fur is usually a rich shade of pale gold to rusty red with black spots, and a whitish shade on its stomach. What looks to be the jaguar's spots are really large broken-edge rosettes, or circles, which have smaller black sports in them. Some jaguars are all black or just really dark, but even they have little dark rosettes on them, which can only be seen in direct sunlight. The Jaguar is often confused with another well-known feline called the Leopard. Though both of these cats have a similar darkish/yellow base fur color, which is marked with dark rosette markings. You can tell that it is a Jaguar by the presence of small dots or irregular shapes within...
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