In jaguars’ ecosystem, they are considered apex predators. This means that they are on top of the food chain, or we may call top predators. Therefore, don’t you think it is interesting to find out what do jaguars eat ?
In a glance, jaguar may look similar to leopard due to the spotted skin. However, jaguars are smaller than leopards. Among the big cats, jaguar is the third on the list when it comes to size.
The color of jaguars are not only golden. There is also black jaguar, which also has spots, but are not that visible due to the dark fur and skin. Often referred to as black panther, black jaguar is quite rare.
The Hunting Tactic of Jaguars
To hunt the preys, jaguars like to stay away during the day and prefer to hunt at night. They can easily rest in thick forests during the day as their skin can easily camouflage. Their excellent night vision is also perfect for hunting at night. Jaguars can mostly be found in some parts of America.
Because jaguars are carnivores and considered top predators, they have wide prey base. They would easily crush the hard skull and shells of any preys with their sharp and powerful teeth. Secretly stalking the prey from the back and pouncing them on the throat until they are suffocating is the tactic used by these big cats.
Once jaguars think that the preys are dead, they would bring the carcass into a secluded area. That is where they are going to have a feast afterwards. On top of that, jaguars are also amazing at swimming. Therefore, they could easily catch preys that are in the water.
What do Jaguars Eat?
Now that you have known how jaguars hunt, below are the list of animals that jaguars prefer to eat. All in all, jaguars do eat most animals that they can find. So, if you are interesting in what do jaguars eat, here are 16 animals that make it on the top list of jaguars’ foods of choice:
Snail is a common animal that you can easily find. It is also easy to find in the wild. Even though snail owns an enclosing shell, jaguars can easily eat this slug.
Deer is well known to have hooves and antlers. They are one of the most hunted animals by all of the big cats in the wild. They would either be stealth or outrun by the big cats.
Armadillo is a mammal that live in the tropical as well as subtropical regions, mainly in Central and South America. They have plates that covers much of the body. They are among one of the animals that are included in what do jaguars eat as jaguars can easily break these shells.
Birds are everywhere, with a lot of living species anywhere in the world. Jaguars also eat birds in the wild. Jaguars are fast and can also bite onto birds at one go.
Tapir is herbivorous mammal that looks like a pig. The short nose trunk is what identifies them. They can be found in the jungle and forest of Southeast Asia as well as Central and South America.
Sloths are known to be a slow animal, and this is why they are perfect preys to what do jaguars eat. They would spend all their lives in the trees, hanging upside down. They live in the tropical rain forest in Central and South America.
These short-bodied and tailless amphibians are carnivorous. Frog can easily be found anywhere. This is why their groups are very diverse. In fact, the oldest fossil of frog was found and dated to 265 million years ago.
These reptiles are easily distinguished by their cartilaginous shell. The shell is acting like their shields. Jaguars can easily bite and break their shields.
Another common animal on the list of what do jaguars eat. Fish is an aquatic animal that are easily becoming one of the preys. As jaguars are excellent swimmers, no wonder they could get a huge stock of fish for the feast.
Living in South America, some people might not be familiar with this giant rodent. This rodent is indeed big. In fact, they are the largest in the world when it comes the category of living rodent.
Peccary looks very similar to pig, but it’s not exactly pig. This mammal lives in the southern deserts. To be exact, peccary lives in the U.S. near the Amazon basin to Patagonian South America. The large head and the circular snout make peccary looks like pig.
Not only jaguars eat the largest living rodents in the world, they also eat any type of rodents. Well, almost half of all mammal species are rodents anyway. The growing incisor in the jaws is what identifies rodents.
The cute animal that is known as many other names, like chipmunks, marmots, and prairie dogs are also rodents. Squirrels are smaller in size than other rodents. They are also one of the preys of jaguars.
Monkey is also one of the jaguars’ target. These mammals like to spend time in the forest. Monkey is also one of the animals that get into the list of what do jaguars eat.
15. Young Caiman
Caiman is a mix of alligator and crocodile. They would hunt and swim in the water. This is also where jaguars will find them.
16. Small crocodile
The last on the list of what do jaguars eat is small crocodile. Also called the dwarf crocodile, they are only 1.7 meters in length. This is small if compared with saltwater crocodile, which is more than 6 meters long. As for the weight, small crocodile is only 6 to 7 kilograms. Big crocodiles can have more than 900 kilograms body weight.
From the list above, we know that jaguars hunt a wide variety of food. Some of the animals even live in the water, not only on land. This makes them unique among other cats.
Those are not the only animals that jaguars consume. In total, jaguars can eat for up to 85 different species of animals. However, one thing in common about these foods is that they are all meat.
Therefore, jaguars love meat and to be healthy, they would need to consume up to 1.5 kilograms of meat in one day. What do jaguars eat are indeed interesting to know!