All About the Xenurine

The Xenurine refers to four species of cabassous. It is a group of armadillos that are not commonly talked about anymore.

The term seems relatively obsolete, although this creature is magnificent and worthy of attention.

What You Should Know

The Xenurine, or cabassous, are a group of armadillo species that live mainly in South America. Most commonly, they are called naked-tailed armadillos. The Northern naked-tailed armadillo lives outside South America in Mexico as well. It prefers to live among the tropical dry forest, cloud forest and on the edges of these forests. This solitary insectivore feeds on termites and ants. It spends the majority of its time digging in tunnels, rotating its body as it digs. It rarely spends any time outside of its burrow, except to find food. That’s what makes it so difficult for scientists to study it further.

What Sound Do They Make?

The naked-tailed armadillo will make a low growling sound if it gets captured. It’s also been heard squealing, but it’s challenging to find a record of these sounds anywhere. When it is captured, it will defecate and urinate as another means of discouraging entrapment. Still, it’s nothing like the sound of a screaming armadillo.

If you haven’t heard it before, you can get a taste of it on this site:

Group Characteristics

Mothers of the southern naked-tailed armadillo give birth to one newborn at a time. They are blind, hairless and deaf when first born. All the baby armadillos have pink skin and the scutes are immediately visible. Typically they will live for up to seven years.

Reproduction of the xenurine occurs year-round. They don’t seem to have a set mating season.

How Many Are There?

The xenurine is listed as Least Concern through the IUCN. Some it’s top threats include the development of livestock farming ranches and timber manufacturing. This hurts the armadillo’s habitat. It also suffers from hunting and trapping, which decreases the population. There are also times that the animal is killed simply because it is seen as a nuisance, even though it doesn’t harm humans or livestock.

Pop Culture

It’s difficult to find the xenurine in anything to do with popular culture, especially since the term is rarely used anymore. As far as the armadillo goes, there are several places where this animal shows up. One of the first times the world saw a film version of this animal was in the 1943 animated short, Pluto and the Armadillo. This armadillo didn’t have a name, but it was a friend to Pluto. We also know about Annette, the armadillo which showed up during the Bear in the Big Blue House fourth season.

Interesting Facts

A Chacoan naked-tailed armadillo is the tiniest of the xenurine. It only measures about 12 inches long, while the others reach up to 18 inches. It also has smaller ears with a flesh expansion featured on its forward edge, which the other varieties don’t have. This armadillo lives among the Gran Chaco region of north-central Argentina and western Paraguay. Sometimes, it’s also found in Bolivia or Brazil, but not often. This species prefers to live among the humid and semi-arid habitats. That’s why it lives in the open forest. The Chacoan naked-tailed armadillo is nocturnal and likes to burrow, just like its relatives. It also makes a grunting call plus it gives birth to one baby at a time.

The Cabassous’s body lacks its protective plates on the body. They are also referred to as eleven-banded armadillos because of how many bands it has. This armor is different than some of the other armadillo breeds.

All About the Aye Aye

The Aye-Aye is a rare breed of mammal found on the island of Madagascar. While it doesn’t immediately look like a primate, it is related to the ape and chimpanzee.

What You Should Know

The only place to find aye-aye in the wild is in Madagascar. They feature a distinctive look with their coarse dark hair, rodent-like teeth, and bushy tails. When they are born, they weigh just a few ounces but grow to five pounds. They live to be up to 20 years old.

The aye-aye prefers to live in the rainforest, deciduous forest, and plantations. They build a nest high in the trees. They eat a variety of foods, but primarily feast on nectar, fungus, seeds, and insect larvae.

What Sound Do They Make?

The aye-aye makes a variety of sounds, unique to the breed. It’s also a rare animal that uses echolocation to find its food.

You can hear about some of the sounds with help from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Group Characteristics

The aye-aye prefers to be alone and doesn’t groom others in the species as most primates do. With that said, sometimes the males’ range overlaps with another and they will socialize. The male aye-aye makes its home in up to 80 acres while the female lives in 20 acres. This means that the female won’t overlap with others, but a male will have multiple females in its territory.

Aye-aye are polygamous and will often fight for mates. The male will even pull another male away while mating. Breeding occurs at any time of the year. A single offspring is born after 157-172 days of gestation. Infants are weaned as young as seven months old, but nurse indefinitely in captivity.

How Many are There?

The aye-aye is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The only non-human predator to the aye-aye is the fossa. Humans kill the aye-aye on sight because they believe it brings bad luck. Furthermore, it faces hunting pressure and a loss of habitat.

Pop Culture

The aye-aye might not be a popular addition to movies and films, but one does have a leading role that most people know about. Maurice, who plays King Julian’s friend in the Madagascar movie franchise, is actually an aye-aye. He also appears in the series, The Penguins of Madagascar.

Aside from that, there have been rumors that Master Yoda from Star Wars was modeled after the aye-aye. There are no confirmed reports that back up those claims.

The aye-aye is not a popular animal at zoos; however, the Denver Zoo was the first to care for the species. They now house three of the 24 located in the United States.

Interesting Facts

The aye-aye is a nocturnal animal. It sleeps in its nest during the daylight hours and then emerges from the nest 30 minutes before sunset. The aye-aye doesn’t go back to its nest until the sun comes up the next day.

Locals near the aye-aye believe the animal predicts death. When they see an aye-aye during hunting, they become afraid. They are also quick to kill one when spotted because it is a pest to their crops.

The aye-aye uses its middle finger to extract food from the trunks of trees. It’s specifically designed to reach into the branches, trunks and hard shells. This middle finger is thin, looking like just bones and skin. It’s also up to three times longer than any of the other aye-aye fingers.

All About the Axolotl

The Axolotl is otherwise known as the Mexican Walking Fish. Strangely enough, this species isn’t a fish at all, but an amphibian. It’s a salamander that belongs to the Caudata/Urodela order.

What You Should Know

The Axolotl was found in Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in Mexico. Lake Chalco has been drained to prevent flooding, so Lake Xochimilco is its remaining habitat. The growth of Mexico City has also put the population under pressure.

The Axolotl is a member of the tiger salamander family. They prefer a high altitude body of water. This species is also carnivorous. It regularly eats insects, worms and small fish. When they smell the food, they snap at the meal and suck it into their stomachs with violent, vacuum force.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Axolotl has been known to make a loud squeak. The other sound that is heard is when the oxygen travels through their skin, gills, and lungs.

Group Characteristics

The Male Axolotl swims and deposits up to 25 spermatophores into the habitat. He hopes that a female will come and pick them up. A female then picks it up with her cloaca and fertilizes them.

After that, the female lays the eggs. This can be anywhere from 100 to 1,000 eggs. Some females will lay eggs several times a year.

How Many are There?

On the IUCN list, the Axolotl is listed as critically endangered. While it can survive up to 15 years, its suffering from many problems beyond its control. The first is the larger fish being added into its habitat. These fish are eating more of the Axolotls, thereby reducing the population.

As Mexico City continues to populate, the demands of the nearby waters strain the habitat. The waters have either been drained to avoid flooding or are contaminated. The Axolotl is also a roasted delicacy in Mexico. Furthermore, they’ve become popular among people with an aquarium, which also lowers the population in the wild.

Pop Culture

Mad Magazine adopted the name Axolotl as a nonsense word for many of its gags. This become popular with readers.

The ability to regrow its limbs also made the Axolotl the inspiration as a fictional Dune universe tank by Frank Herbert.

During the Netflix series, Bojack Horseman, there’s an anthropomorphic Axolotl-like character with the name Yolanda Buenaventura. This character is voiced by Natalie Morales.

Interesting Facts

The Axolotl is different from salamanders, in numerous ways. First, the Axolotl is only found in the lakes around Mexico City. They also permanently live in water, where salamanders survive outside of water. Because it is closely related to the tiger salamander, the Axolotl is very large. It reaches up to a foot long. It also has a black or mottled brown color, but it’s not uncommon to see albino species.

Phonetically, it’s pronounced “Ax-oh-lot-ul.” The “a” means “water” while “xolotl” means “dog.” This is all named after the Xolotl, which is a canine Aztec deity.

While the Axolotl was a popular delicacy, it isn’t found much in Mexico anymore because of the endangered listing. Still, the Japanese continue to dine on the animal, deep-fried. They claim it tastes like white fish meat, except it has a crunch.

The Axolotl is estimated at 1,000 times more resistant to cancer than other mammals. This causes scientists to research it and attempt to replicate the natural resistance in hopes of eliminating these diseases for humans.

All About the Avocet

The Avocet is an elegant bird that glides through the shallow waters. It’s found in coastal parts of the United States and has a distinctive look that turns heads.

What You Should Know

The American Avocet lives among the wetlands of the arid western United States. It resides around beaches, shallow lakes, flats, and prairie ponds. It prefers to live among open ground that has little vegetation. It’s also fond of the salty or alkaline water versus fresh.

Avocets are social birds that prefer to live in large flocks. Their groups are especially numerous while migrating or mating.

The Avocent eats small insects and crustaceans as well as some seeds. It prefers to find its food in shallow water, so diets also contain larvae and aquatic insects. When living on a lake in the west, it’s been found eating brine flies and brine shrimp.

What Sound Do They Make?

The Avocet makes a loud, repeated weep. When it deals with predators, it lets out a series of notes that rise gradually in pitch. This creates a Doppler effect which allows it to appear faster than it is.

Group Characteristics

Many Avocets migrate to the west coast in winter. There are a few that go east to the Atlantic coast instead.

A typical Avocet has four eggs per breeding. They are olive-colored with some black and brown blotches. These eggs are incubated by both parents for 23 to 25 days. At night, the female takes charge of the eggs, but both partners share the duties during the day. The American Avocet takes part in brood parasitism. This is when it lays its eggs in the nest of another female who then incubates them without noticing. Their eggs have even been found in Mew Gulls nests.

The downy young leave the nest shortly after hatching to find their food. The age of the first flight is typically around four weeks old.

How Many are There?

The Avocet population is increasing. In the past few decades, the numbers in both the east and west have risen. Still, some threats are facing them.

They continue to lose their wetland habitat due to climate change and contamination. Some of the wetlands in the west have decreased in size by 90%.

Pop Culture

Probably the most well-known depiction of an Avocet in film is by Miss Avocet from Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. Played by Judy Dench, Miss Avocet escaped the slaughter of Hollowgasts and sought refuge at the Home. She was initially found in the Cairn Tunnel and unable to return to human form. When Emma and Jack took her to Miss Peregrine, she was restored to health and later took care of the children, but died later in the movie at the hands of Malthus.

Interesting Facts

The Avocet is a medium-sized bird. It weighs up to 15 ounces and reaches 18 inches in length. The wingspan totals between 30 and 32 inches. An Avocet is covered with white and black feathers. It’s young look precisely like the adult birds, except they have brown feathers in place of the black.

Avocets are most known for their long, upward curved beak. The male Avocet tends to have a longer beak than the female. Aside from the beak, they are also known for their webbed feet and slender, long legs. This helps them to trudge through the shallow water with ease.

All About the Armadillo

Armadillo stands for “little armored one” in Spanish. It earned its name because of the bony plates that cover the animal’s back, legs, tail, and head.

In fact, this is the only mammal that wears a shell such as this.

What You Should Know

Currently, 20 armadillo varieties exist. All of these except for one lives in Latin America. The nine-banded armadillo is the only one living in the United States.

The majority of armadillos live in warm and temperate habitats. This includes grasslands, rain forests, and semi-deserts. Cold is the enemy of the armadillo, mainly because they lack fat stores and have a lower metabolic rate.

Many armadillos dig burrows and sleep up to 16 hours a day. They forage in the morning and at dusk for beetles, termites, ants, and other insects. They don’t have good eyesight, so they rely on their smell for hunting. The armadillo also eats plants, fruit, vertebrates, and some carrion meal.

Armadillos spend much of their time in solitary. They like to forage alone and only interact to care for the young.

What Sound Do They Make?

The armadillo makes grunting noises while foraging for food. They also tend to squeal and squeak when they feel danger approaching. A screaming hairy armadillo is known for its unique loud squeal.

Group Characteristics

Each species breeds at a different time. Some reproduce year-round. Typical gestation lasts from two to five months for most armadillos. Babies are called pups and the average mother has one to 12 at a time. At birth, the baby has a soft, gray shell with a leather-like feel. It rolls up into a ball within hours.

The mother will nurse the pups for up to four months. The father does not stay to help the young, and the babies leave the mom after only nine months.

The armadillo lifespan ranges from four to 30 years. In the zoo, they live longer.

How Many are There?

Armadillos face a lot of threat from humans. People see them as pests and will call exterminators to remove them from the garden. They also get run over by cars as they look for food.

Another threat it faces is habitat destruction. All of them except for the nine-banded armadillo have a decrease in population. Five of them are classified as vulnerable.

Natural predators to the species include wolves, cougars, wildcats, and bears.

Pop Culture

Disney has used the armadillo in multiple projects. The earliest would be in the 1943 animated short, Pluto and the Armadillo. While the armadillo didn’t have a name, it was clear it was Pluto’s friend. Then, Annette, the armadillo showed up during the Bear in the Big Blue House fourth season.

Interesting Facts

The armadillo has an odd shape, but that doesn’t slow it down. Some armadillos reach up to 30 mph, which allows them to outrun a few of its jungle predators.

There is a species of armadillo known as the pink fairy armadillo. It’s known as the smallest species of all the varieties. It doesn’t live as long and many zoos have trouble keeping them, making it difficult to understand them. This small armadillo measures about five to six inches long and doesn’t weigh more than one pound.

At one point, the armadillo was used to make a musical instrument. The ten-stringed device is known as a charango and was typical in Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

All About the Arctic Wolf

The Arctic Wolf is also known as a White Wolf or Polar Wolf. It’s a mammal found in the Canidae family. This wolf survives in a climate and environment that isn’t ideal for most other wolf species.

What You Should Know

The Arctic Wolf lives in the northern areas of North America and Greenland. Both this and the Timber Wolf are the only Grey Wolf subspecies that are found in this range.

It’s believed that the Arctic Wolf likes to be alone, but that simply isn’t factual. When they are seen alone, it’s only because they are hunting for food. When they aren’t looking to eat, they stay with the pack. Sometimes this is only a couple of wolves, but it can reach up to twenty.

Wolves are territorial, but some have hundreds of miles included in their home range. Because of this, they will allow other packs to overlap the territory slightly.

There is a limited food supply in the arctic. When available, the wolf eats muskoxen and caribou. Because these species are larger, it requires multiple wolves to take it down. With the wolves’ sharp teeth, it’s simple for them to rip into the flesh and crunch the bones quickly after capture. In one sitting, they will eat 20 pounds of meat. At times, the Arctic Wolf has to go weeks without food, because of the environment.

What Sound Do They Make?

The arctic wolf makes the same sound as other animals from this family. You will hear them bark, whimper, growl, and howl. Some of them often sound like a combination of two at the same time, such as a growl-bark or bark-howl.

Listen to the Arctic Wolf howl with this video.

Group Characteristics

In small packs, only the alpha male and female wolves breed. In larger packs, others might also mate. Due to the permafrost soil, the Arctic Wolf typically uses caves, shallow depressions, and rock outcroppings as a den. The mother births two to three pups later in May or early in June. Then, the pups remain with the mom for two years.

When the wolf pup is born, it has dark fur and blue eyes. These change to yellow-gold when the pup reaches between eight and 16 weeks.

Most Arctic Wolves live to be about seven to ten years old in the wild and 18 years old in captivity.

How Many are There?

We don’t have an exact number on how many Arctic Wolves exist, but we know they are labeled as Least Concern. Because of the isolation, the arctic wolf doesn’t face many threats. It rarely comes in contact with humans, so there’s less chance of hunting.

Its biggest threat is climate change. The more weather variation that exists, the harder it is to find food. Another danger is industrial development. More mines, pipelines, and roads continue to be built which disrupts the food supply of the Arctic Wolf.

Watch a Video

In this first video, National Geographic Wild captured a new family outing of Arctic Wolves.

You can also learn 13 fun facts about the arctic wolf.

Pop Culture

Probably the most well-known movie that included Arctic Wolves is the 1983 Walt Disney Never Cry Wolf. It was centered around a researcher sent to the Arctic to study the wolves who were reducing the caribou population. It’s also possible to see Arctic Wolves at zoos across the country.

Interesting Facts

Arctic wolves have a smaller body than the grey wolf. It’s also easy to spot their shorter muzzles and smaller ears. It’s believed that these parts evolved to be smaller so that the animal could retain more body heat.

All About the Arctic Hare

Few animals can survive the harsh climate and environment of the North American tundra quite as the arctic hare does. This hare, which is slightly larger than a rabbit, has a lot of ways to keep itself safe and warm. It continues to thrive in this frozen land where other species can’t.

What You Should Know

The arctic hare has taller hind legs plus longer ears than a typical rabbit. It’s also a fast creature and will reach speeds higher than 40 mph. During the winter months, it has a bright, white coat that helps it to camouflage in the snow and ice. During spring, that hair changes color to blue-gray, which allows it to blend in with rocks and vegetation.

The arctic hare is found in Northern Canada through Newfoundland and on the coasts of Greenland. A similar species, the Mountain Hare, is found in Arctic Asia and Europe. These animals are mostly identical and might be the same.

An arctic hare eats woody plants, including roots and willow twigs. It also eats berries, mosses, and sedges.

What Sound Do They Make?

Arctic hares don’t typically use their voice to communicate. Instead, they rely on scent and smell plus body language. The position of their ears tells a lot about what they are trying to say. Still, researches have been able to find three varying sounds that the hare makes. Before nursing, the female growls. Another sound it makes is a scream when trouble is imminent. Finally, it’s been heard making a lower growl when it’s caught.

In this video, you can see just how quiet the hare remains.

Group Characteristics

Arctic hares do not hibernate. Instead, they survive the cold weather with some physical and behavioral adaptations. Their thick fur and low surface area help them conserve body heat. Sometimes, they also dig shelters and huddle with other hares to stay warm.

Most of the time the arctic hare prefers to be alone but has been spotted in large groups when trying to stay warm. During mating season, the male may have more than one partner and typically defines its mating territory.

Females will birth babies once a year, either in the spring or beginning of summer. During that time, two to eight young hares are born. They will be ready to breed by the following year.

How Many are There?

Nobody has ever conducted a formal count of the arctic hare population. There’s thought to be enough that they are listed as least concern on the IUCN list. Current predators include the arctic wolf, grey wolf, arctic fox, red fox, snowy owl, ermine, Canadian lynx and gyrfalcon. They also need to protect their young from these predators.

The arctic hare was once crucial to Native Americans that hunted it for fur and food. While it still occurs, it’s estimated that only about 5% of the population is affected.

Watch a Video

In this first video, you can learn some interesting facts about the arctic hare.

Here are some hares having a good time in the wild.

Pop Culture

The arctic hare doesn’t show up in any popular movies or TV shows as it isn’t a popular animal to feature. There are many missed occasions to include this species. For example, it would have fit in well in Zootopia when Judy Hopps passed through Tundratown.

Interesting Facts

Among the numerous character traits that make the arctic hare different, it also contains its own set of sunglasses. This hare features black eyelashes that keep their eyes protected from the sun’s glare coming off of the ice and snow.

All About the Arctic Fox

The arctic fox is also known as the polar fox or white fox. It’s a northern fox from the Canidae family. While small in size, this animal shows that it is resilient and adaptable to change.

What You Should Know

The arctic fox is found throughout the Arctic region. It makes its home in the mountains near the sea or the tundra. This fox is a burrow dweller that’s active throughout the day.

It feeds on any animal or plant that’s available. It also follows the polar bear to feed on whatever is remaining from its kill. In summer, the arctic fox eats lemmings and rodents, but will also catch birds when possible. During the winter, it hunts puffins, grouse, and ptarmigan.

What Sound Do They Make?

The arctic fox communicates with others through a variety of sounds. Sometimes they can be heard giving off a loud yowl over a long distance while other noises include a high-pitched sound to signal danger.

In this video, you can hear mating calls from an arctic fox duo.

Group Characteristics

In the winter, almost all of the arctic foxes will commute short distances for three days or less. They do this several times a month in search of food. In Canada, the fox migrates from the archipelago to Greenland or northwestern Canada.

The foxes found closer to goose colonies don’t tend to migrate at all. The majority of them prefer to maintain their territory, even if they do some traveling. As the fox gets older, it’s more likely they will leave home.

The female arctic fox breeds once a year. During this time, she will produce up to 20 pups after a 52-day gestation period. She nurses the pups for around 45 days and they leave the family a few months later. In the wild, they only live to be about three years old but survive up to ten years in a zoo.

How Many are There?

It’s estimated that there are several hundred thousand and are labeled as least concern for extinction risk. Natural predators include polar bears, wolverines, and wolves. The arctic fox also falls victim to fur trading, which increases hunting risk.

Furthermore, climate change plays a part in current fox populations. Since the Arctic temperatures rise at twice the rate of the rest of the world, the fox is at risk. The more the sea ice melts and the sea levels rise, the smaller the arctic fox population becomes.

Watch a Video

In the first video, BBC Earth showcases an arctic fox hunting for food.

In the second one, we see how the fox takes advantage of the leftovers from a polar bear.

Pop Culture

There’s a movie being made called Arctic Dogs. It’s an animated film featuring an arctic fox that works in the mail room. It’s the typical kid’s movie where good must fight evil. Furthermore, the arctic fox is found in most zoos around the country. In Detroit, three sister foxes live in the Arctic Ring of Life, which was rated as the second-best exhibit of any zoo in America by The Intrepid Traveler’s Guide to America’s Best Zoos.

Interesting Facts

The color scheme of an arctic fox is unique. The white phase foxes feature a grayish-brown color in the summer and then turn all white in the winter. Other foxes have a blue phase which showcases itself as a gray color in the summer and gray-blue during the winter.

All About Antelope

The classification of antelope is used to describe many mammals within the Family Bovidae. For that reason, many animals that are thought to be antelope turn out to be something else entirely.

What You Should Know

Every antelope contains horns made from keratin. These horns remain permanently attached to the head and don’t shed like a deer’s. There are varying horn designs from ridged to twisting.

Many antelope are native to Africa, but you can also find some in Asia and the Middle East. They prefer to live in open grasslands, wooded areas or the rain forest. The antelope is a herbivore, but some species have been seen eating small mammals, birds, and insects. Otherwise, they are content to feast on small trees and bushes.

What Sound Do They Make?

Depending on the species, you may hear varying sounds. Some make a bleat, bellow, moo, or grunt. With a gerenuk antelope, you hear a combination between a moan and a grunt. Many of the species will also make a sound resembling a dog’s bark if they feel threatened.

Enjoy the calming sounds of the antelope with this interesting video clip.

Group Characteristics

The antelope does prefer to live in a small herd and will migrate to find food. Once the antelope has mated, the female gives birth to one or two calves. The newborns are vulnerable to predators, which is why the female births the calves in dense cover. If she leaves to feed, she covers the newborns with the vegetation. While in this hiding place, the calves don’t move at all unless they’re about to be discovered.

How Many are There?

There are large populations of antelope, but some species have made it to the IUCN endangered list. Loss of habitat, poaching, game hunting plus the loss of grazing land due to cattle farming has hurt the population.

The Saiga antelope and Tibetan antelope are both hunted for medicinal purposes, making them two of the most threatened species. Aside from hunting, the antelope are pursued by many predators. Hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, civets, lions, wild dogs and snakes will eat an antelope. Larger birds eat the young calves, but antelope have some tricks that keep them safe.

Depending on the situation, antelopes will freeze in place, sound an alarm, run with intense speed, jump in a strange pattern or hide to avoid danger. Some species also give off an odor to deter some predators. When all else fails, they will resort to using their horns in battle.

Watch a Video

Here’s a short documentary available about the antelope in Africa.

In this video, you can see how lions hunt antelope.

Pop Culture

Antelope can be seen in The Lion King and The Lion King 2. In the first movie, Simba talks with his father about how lions eat antelope then die and become part of the grass. After that, antelope eat the grass, thereby completing the “Circle of Life.” In the animated movie, Khumba, we also see Gemsboks which are a species of antelope.

Interesting Facts

Antelope run fast. They aren’t the fastest animal in the world, but they make quick and precise turns to throw off their enemies. That’s how they gain an advantage over predators such as the cheetah who can sprint faster than the antelope.

The desert antelope doesn’t need to drink water. Instead, they get everything needed from their food.

The klipspringer antelope jumps 15 times its height, making it the highest jumper in relation to body size. An impala is also pretty impressive with the ability to soar up to ten feet.

Learn All About the Jaguar

The Jaguar is the largest cat found in the Americas. This top-level carnivore is often confused with a leopard, despite their significant differences.

What You Should Know

The jaguar is a carnivore that eats crocodiles, deer, snakes, peccary, monkeys, sloths, deer, tapirs, eggs, turtles, fish and frogs. They basically dine on anything they can catch.

The jaguar likes to live and hunt by itself, except when it is mating. For the most part, a jaguar is found on solid ground, but sometimes it also climbs high in a tree to pounce on prey below. Unlike most of the other big cats, the jaguar enjoys being in the water.

Jaguars don’t exist much in the United States anymore and are now endangered throughout Patagonia in South America. Its natural habitat is the rainforest, deciduous forest, swamps and mountain scrub areas. When it sleeps, it hides. It will find an area surrounded by trees or relax in a tree, if possible. If there are no trees, you will find the jaguar resting among the tall grass.

The jaguar measures 25-30 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 200 pounds. It will live for up to 12 years, according to Defenders of Wildlife. It features a compact body, broad head and mighty jaws.

What Sound Do They Make?

Listen to the glorious sounds that a jaguar makes.

Group Characteristics

The Jaguar doesn’t migrate but remains in the Amazon basin. All other habitats throughout the Americas have been mainly wiped out. They no longer exist among dry regions and will travel to find freshwater, according to Big Cat Facts.

While they don’t have a breeding season, they do maintain a 100-day gestation period. Most females have two to four cubs at once. Until those babies are one year old, the female jaguar continues to feed them. Then, they remain with their mother until they are about two years old. Jaguars reach maturity around two to three years old for a female and three to four years old for a male.

How Many are There?

According to National Geographic, the Jaguar is part of the IUCN Near Threatened Status. They’ve been killed because of conflicts with livestock and hunted as trophies. Habitat loss continues to be a concern and the construction of a U.S.-Mexico wall might threaten their return to the United States.

Watch a Video

The History Channel did an amazing documentary on the Jaguar and its behavior.

Watch this Jaguar take down a caiman.

Pop Culture

There have been some famous jaguars in animation. One is Manchas the jaguar in Zootopia. He was a black jaguar that drove a limo. He became one of the missing mammals that turned savage in the movie.

Another cartoon jaguar is Gia from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. This love interest of Alex was voiced by Jessica Chastain.

In America, one of the largest displays of Jaguars occurs at the San Diego Zoo. They’ve housed and bred jaguars since 1925.

Interesting Facts

Black jaguars have a dominant melanistic gene. While they aren’t uncommon, they are more challenging to see, especially when they spend time in a dark rainforest.

The most distinctive feature that sets a jaguar apart from a leopard, according to Discover Wildlife, is the spot shape. They have spots that look like roses and are often called rosettes. The jaguar’s rosettes have spots inside them where a leopard does not.

In addition, jaguars are often talked about as a nocturnal animal. However, they appear to be more active around dawn and dusk. This is also referred to as crepuscular behavior.