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Photographer's Note

Pantera onca - Jaguar

Their name, "yaguara", as coined by South American Indians, means "a beast that kills its prey with one bound."

Jaguars are not found in the wild in South Africa. This one was photographed in a nature reserve. They are normally found in Zoo's in SA and I consider my self very fortunate to encounter one so close in the reserve. They range mainly in Mexico, Central, and South America. Some sparse sites have been recorded in Texas, Arizona, southern California, and New Mexico. They live mainly in forests and swamplands. Jaguars are excellent swimmers, and are the most water loving of the cats.

In comparison with the leopard, the jaguar is generally larger and much stockier, with a broad heavy head, much shorter legs and tail (a good visual description might be a leopard on steroids). The background of the jaguar's coat is a tawny-yellow, like many of the Asiatic leopards, and lightened to whitish on the throat and belly. The jaguar is marked with small isolated spots on the head and neck with dark open ring structures, rosettes, on the sides and flank that generally contain one to four dark spots inside the rings. Interestingly, the rosettes of the leopard and the jaguar are almost identical with the exception of the jaguar having spots "inside" the rosettes where the leopard has none.

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