Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish similar animals from each other. But those who decided to put an end to misunderstandings and gaps in knowledge, our article will certainly be useful. In it we look at the main differences between leopards and jaguars, as well as some other major representatives of the cat family, also have spots.
Who are the panthers?
The differences between the jaguar and the leopard are not so many, because they are close relatives. Both species belong to the genus Panther. In addition to them, the genus includes more tigers and lions, which obviously can not be confused with anyone. The word "panther" has another meaning. Often so called all the big cats of dark color. It should be remembered that in this case we are not talking about the form - it is a characteristic color.
The increased amount of melanin causes the growth and darkening of the spots, as a result of which the animal gets a thick dark color, sometimes almost black. The same happens with jaguars and leopards.
Sizes and shapes
The main difference between the leopard and the jaguar is the size and structure of the body. Visually present this will help the next photo.
The jaguar is larger and more massive, against the background of a light-legged leopard, it may even seem fat. And he has not very long, unlike the leopard, tail.
In the wild, it will not be possible to put these animals together and compare them, since they live on different continents. Therefore, we will consider other differences. But first, we note that the jaguar is the only representative of the genus of panthers living in South and North America. Leopards inhabit Africa and Asia.
The jaguar is larger, and its head is more massive. If you look at the profile, you can see a sloping, slightly bulging nose. Some say it resembles a pit bull's nose. Unlike the jaguar, the leopard has a more elegant head. He has a typical cat profile with a concave nose. The part of the muzzle from which the mustache grows is also different: the jaguar is pear-shaped, lowered to the mouth, and the cheetah is knocked down, diamond-shaped.
The American beast is not only larger, but also significantly brighter than its African and Asian counterparts. The color of his skin is red, not light yellow. Another characteristic difference between a leopard and a jaguar is spots. They are large in the jaguar, in the form of black rosettes with spots inside, while in the leopard they are smaller, with a colored center, but without spots.
As for lifestyle, there are not so many differences. Leopards and jaguars are great tree frogs and hunters. They attack a victim from an ambush, kill almost instantly. Carrion these species do not eat. Wounded animals can attack people, but in general cannibalism is uncharacteristic for them (although history has been known to several savage predators who kept entire settlements at bay).
But the differences are still there. Leopards are not very fond of water, and their American relatives swim beautifully. It is also believed that jaguars are more aggressive.
Other large spotted cats
It happens that confusion arises with other brothers in the family. Most often, questions arise when it comes to cheetah, although he is not even a member of the panther genus.
It has a smaller size, lean body on strong high legs and a small head. The tail of the cheetah is long and thin. From the eyes to the corners of the mouth are black stripes. Spots whole. Unlike leopard and jaguar, the cheetah hunts only during the day and never attacks from ambush. This animal is the best sprinter among the predators of the planet, but for more than 400 meters it does not chase after victims.
Spots can be seen on the skin of a lynx, but it is rather a speck. The lynx is also significantly inferior in size even to a leopard, and it can easily be identified by the shape of the head with high triangular ears, topped with tassels.
The snow leopard, or snow leopard, is a rather large animal, resembling a fat, bright leopard. The irbis lives in the mountains, therefore its color is gray-white, without a redhead. The hair of this animal is thick and very long, and a small bushy tail looks more like a jaguar.
There are small members of the family (servals, ocelots), which are more like big domestic cats, and not huge jaguars. In addition to spots, there are no similar signs with representatives of the panther genus in these animals.
Listen to the voice of the jaguar
Usually large mammals (tapirs, capybaras, peccaries) become victims of these cats. When they are hungry, they can eat small mammals, birds, turtles and caimans, as well as fish. A jaguar can safely fish with its forepaw, as bears do. After the hunt, the jaguar hides the victim’s body in a safe place. Remains buried in the ground. Hungry or threatened, they can attack people.
Jaguars were the object of worship of Native Americans, including the ancient Maya and Aztec.
Jaguars beautiful swimmers
Do you know that:
• The jaguar has the strongest jaws among all cats.
• For most of the year, jaguars live alone like tigers.
• During the mating season (August and September), males fight for females.
• At birth, jaguar kittens weigh 0.7-0.9 kg.
• Sometimes a jaguar is called a “black panther”.
• Jaguars are very difficult to train.
• In zoos, these cats often live at two or even three times longer than in the wild.
• Reproduce offspring jaguars every two years.
Characteristics of the jaguar (Panthera Onca)
• Body length 120-195 cm
• Tail length: 70-90 cm
• Height: 76 cm
• Weight: 56-96 kg, up to 160 kg
• Pregnancy 91-111 days
• Puberty in females is 1-2 years, in males 2-3 years
• Number of calves in litter 1-4 (usually 2-3)
• Life expectancy of 11–12 years, in captivity up to 28 years
jaguar in captivity
Why is the panther black?
The black color of the panther is caused by special mutations in the animal's genes, known as melanism. Such a mutation is very common among carnivorous representatives of the feline family, for example, in Malaysia, about half of all local leopards there are black in consequence of melanism and, in fact, are black panthers.
The black color of these animals is often of practical importance (after all, nature is always wise in its actions), so many black panthers live in dense forests, where, with a lack of lighting, dark animals are less noticeable, which makes their lives much easier.
Panther: description, structure, characteristics. What does a panther look like?
Business card of any panther is its corporate black color. Although if you look at the panther more closely, you can see that its coat is covered with dark spots of different shades, all this creates the appearance of black color.
Panthers are large predators, the weight of a panther can reach 40-50 kg. The trunk is oblong and reaches up to two meters in length.
Also at the disposal of the panther are four powerful and large paws, with long and sharp claws, which are drawn into the fingers (their structure is about the same as that of the kindest representative of the feline - the domestic cat).
The head of the panther is very large, somewhat elongated, with small ears at the crown. The eyes are a medium-sized panther with large pupils. Also, the panther has sharp teeth and powerful jaws.
Wool panthers are all over the body, there is also a very long tail, which sometimes can be up to half the length of the animal.
Where does the panther live
Panthers live in a wide geographical area, many of them live on the African continent, especially in the mountains of Ethiopia and Kenya. They are also found in Asia and South America, only, of course, the black panthers of South America have a significant difference from the black panthers of Asia, where they are actually black jaguars, when in Asia they are black leopards.
What does the panther eat
All panthers are fierce and dangerous predators, and among the most dangerous among the cat family. If the panther is hungry, he can easily attack any nearby game, including humans. But most often for lunch to the panther fall various herbivorous animals: zebras, buffaloes, antelopes. Sometimes the panther is not averse to snack and monkeys. Pets: cows, sheep, horses, also being themselves unattended in the jungle, have a high chance of becoming food for the panthers.
Panthers always go hunting at night, at night, due to the black color, they become almost invisible, which gives them the opportunity to watch for potential prey without any problems.
Panthers, like real members of the feline family, are genuine individualists, preferring to live alone, or in pairs, male + female. Occasionally they can gather in the pride, as lions do, creating a small family of panthers, but this does not happen often.
Panthers are territorial animals, each panther has its own specific territory, so to speak hunting grounds, where other panthers do not want to go.
Panthers are nocturnal, which to a large extent contributes to their black color, thanks to which night hunting for panthers is much more preferable than chasing game during the day.
Panthers reach sexual maturity by the 2-3rd year. And since they live in a constantly warm climate, they can multiply throughout the year. The male, finding a suitable female, enters into a sexual relationship with her. Having become pregnant, the female is looking for a safe and comfortable place for childbirth.
The pregnancy itself in the female panther lasts 3-3.5 months. Usually, a panther gives birth to two or three small kittens (well, not exactly a kitten), like the children of an ordinary cat, at first they are blind, and only then do they cut their eyes. Mom panther at first does not otluchaetsya from their children, feeding them with milk, while dad, as a real earner brings food.
In general, the panthers are very caring for their offspring, and at an older age, the mother of the panther teaches her cubs to move, hunt, and other tricks of their animal life. When the panther reaches the year, she already becomes a fully adult and ready for independent life beast.
Interesting Panther Facts
- Thanks to the book of the English writer Kipling “Mowgli”, as we remember, the black panther named Bagheera was one of the main good characters of this book, which gained great popularity in popular culture.
- Panther found its place in heraldry as well, it was the emblem of the English kings Henry IV and Henry VI.
- As the personification of valor and courage, the panther is present on the coat of arms of the African state of Gabon.