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An Amazon Adventure--
Jaguar (2)

Jaguars, one of only four roaring cats in the world, are the American continents' largest cat. (Jaguars, source two) Looking similar to their cousin, the leopard, a threatened species because of habitat destruction, jaguars eat mainly animals, but they also consume Yage, a native Amazonian plant. When left in the wild, these graceful animals are part of a delicate ecosystem and therefore, they need to be preserved. Eating habits, physical appearance, and breeding are three topics that make the jaguar a unique animal.

Jaguars look much like their cousin feline, the leopard, though they are more stoutly built, have stronger, more muscular necks, and have broader heads. Some more noticeable differences are that jaguars have larger rosette markings that are farther apart, and have much shorter tails. Weighing up to 300 pounds, this huge cat is six to seven feet long, though most average males weigh only 175 to 225 pounds and females weight ranging from 170 to 190 pounds. (Jaguars source two) The coloring of jaguars can range from melanistic, almost charcoal to a reddish hue, with most having a honey colored background with black rosettes.

Usually considered carnivorous, jaguars have been seen clawing, gnawing and chewing Yage's leaves, vines and bark by Tukano Indians. After testing, studies have shown that when consumed in small doses, Yage can enhance senses, especially eyesight, in the dark and smell. In fact, Yage has been used by hunters so that they, too, can have "jaguar eyes" for the hunt. Otherwise, the diet of a jaguar consists of small animals, such as tapirs and capybaras, normally stalking their prey before pouncing on them. Interestingly enough, the jaguar excels at swimming which enables it to color its diet with crocodiles and a variety of fish.

Jaguars mate in no particular season, but usually once a year. After waiting 95-105 days a litter, usually one to four cubs, are born blind, and weighing two to five pounds. (Jaguars source two) Extremely protective of her cubs, the mother is easily excited and agitated in the 24 months that her young will remain with her. ( Jaguars source one) Except when mating, the male and female jaguars disregard each other, remaining in their own territories.

Jaguars are crucial to a delicate food chain that exists in the Amazon, but are being challenged by humans food, which we continually kill. Some steps have been taken to preserve hem, but it still needs more protection. Revealing its intelligence, the jaguar eats Yage to improve its chance of survival by making its senses acute. Mistaken for a leopard many times, the jaguar does have many of the same physical characteristics of the leopard, but it is bigger, broader and heavier. The jaguar needs more protection if it is to continue to dwell in the Amazon.