Jaguar, the largest cat of the Western Hemisphere. It resembles the leopard, but is larger and has a somewhat shorter tail. The jaguar ranges from southern Mexico to Argentina. An adult male measures up to 8 feet (2.4m) from nose to tail tip, stands about 28 inches (70 cm) at the shoulder, and weighs up to 300 pounds (135 kg). Most jaguars have brownish-yellow fur with ringed black spots, or rosettes; the underparts are buff white with black spots. Some jaguars, however, are solid black.
Jaguars are excellent swimmers and climbers. They hunt singly, often springing from trees upon tapirs, capybaras, and peccaries. They also feed on fish and rabbits; some jaguars kill domestic cattle for food. About 3 l/2 months after mating, the female gives birth to two to four kittens.
Due to loss of habitat and indiscriminate hunting for their pelts, jaguars are endangered. In some countries, such as Belize, they are protected in national parks.
The jaguar is Panthera onca of the family Felidae.