Jaguar Facts: Lesson for Kids

Jaguars are beautiful cats with a ferocious bite. In this lesson, you’ll learn what jaguars look like, where they live, and what they eat. You’ll also learn some neat facts about these big wild cats.

What is a Jaguar?

Kittens are adorable baby animals, but not all kittens grow up to be house pets. Some kittens grow up to be fierce predators with big powerful jaws, like jaguars. Jaguars got their name from Native Americans who named them yaguar, which means ‘he who kills with one leap’.

A Jaguar

This lesson will teach you about jaguars, so you can understand what they look like, what they eat, and where they live.

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What Do They Look Like?

Most jaguars have yellow or orange colored fur marked by big black spots, but some have black fur with black spots. The spots are called rosettes because they look kind of like roses.

A black jaguar with black spots
black jaguar

Jaguars are some of the biggest cats in the world. They can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh about 250 pounds.

Where Do They Live?

The only time jaguars are social is during mating season; otherwise, jaguars like to live alone. They like their alone time so much that they mark trees with their claws and pee around the edges of their territory to warn other animals not to trespass in their space.

At one time, jaguars roamed America, but there are very few found in the United States today. Most surviving jaguars live in South America around the Amazon River. They like to live in wooded areas and live near water because unlike other cats, jaguars like to swim!

What Do They Eat?

Their love for the water makes jaguars good fishermen, so they enjoy eating things in the water, like fish, frogs, and turtles. Jaguars are also good hunters on land. Jaguars are fast and can quickly pounce on prey, which allows them to feed on things such as deer, cattle and small mammals, such as capybaras and peccaries. They have even been seen hunting from trees. Jaguars can climb trees and pounce on prey from above.

Because their diet consists of meat and fish, jaguars are classified as carnivores.

How Long Do They Live?

Jaguars can live to be 12 to 15 years old, which is about the same lifespan of a house cat. However, because of the loss of their habitat and illegal hunting, the population of the jaguars has been declining.

Lesson Summary

Most jaguars have yellow or orange colored fur marked by big black spots called rosettes, and are some of the biggest cats in the world. They like to live alone and can be found mostly in South America. Jaguars are carnivores who like to hunt their prey in water and on land.


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