San Diego Zoo’s photogenic Jaguar cub is proving himself to be quite the handful…and mouthful.
ZooBorns introduced you to the yet-to-be-named-cub last week, with a series of adorable photos. He was born March 12th to mother, ‘Nindiri’, and he has been putting her mom-skills to the test.
The Jaguar is the only extant Panthera species native to the Americas. It is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and it is the largest big cat in the Western Hemisphere. The Jaguar’s present range extends from the Southwestern United States, Mexico, across much of Central America, south to Paraguay and into northern Argentina.
Unlike many other cats, Jaguars do not avoid water. They are known to be quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans. 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.
Most Jaguars are tan or orange, with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some Jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.
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. Young Jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.
The Jaguar is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. The loss of parts of its range, including its virtual elimination from its historic North American areas, and the increasing fragmentation of the remaining range have contributed to this status. Jaguars are still hunted for their attractive fur. Ranchers also kill them because the cats sometimes prey upon their livestock.