Guyana’s National Animal – The Jaguar

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The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is considered the largest cat in the Americas and ranges from the south western US to Argentina. There is much colour variation in jaguars, but in general, they are a tawny golden colour on the back and sides with a white underbelly, and are spotted with black rosettes all over.

The ‘black jaguar’ is one such specific colour variation and its rosettes are visible at certain angles; black jaguars occur rarely in all populations. Jaguars vary in size, with adults generally weighing between 45-90 kg and measuring approximately 2.5 metres from nose to tail.  They are the top predators in the forest and savannahs and are excellent swimmers. They are stocky and strong, and stalk their prey rather than chase it as most big cats do. They will hunt at any time of the day or night, using their powerful jaws and teeth to pierce the skull of their prey, a technique unique to jaguars and very useful for cracking the shells of turtles, one of their favourite prey. Other prey include capybara, deer, monkeys, and fish. In areas where humans live, jaguars will also prey on domestic animals such as dogs and cattle.


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