Jaguars are spotted jungle cats native to the Americas, built for power rather than speed. They have strong jaws and teeth capable of killing prey instantly by piercing their skulls. Often, they take prey that is quite large. Jaguars are the biggest cats in the Americas: the largest males weigh up to 300 pounds. The average weight of jaguars is about 220 pounds.
Jaguars are ambush hunters, pouncing on a range of unsuspecting prey. They are apex predators that feed on most of the species in their range including peccaries, tapirs, deer, caimans, turtles, snakes, capybaras, fish and large birds. The armored shells and tough skin of many reptiles are no match for their jaws. They have no natural predators, but are hunted by humans for their pelts and other trophies, and are threatened by habitat destruction.
Jaguars can climb trees, but they rest on the ground unless their habitat is flooded. They typically shelter beneath thick plant cover, in caves or under rocks. Their dwellings are typically found near water, which they use to cool off during hotter parts of the year. They are solitary hunters, living alone except during the mating season, when males travel with fertile females for a time.