Author Topic: Jaguars  (Read 1027 times)

alicat

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Jaguars
« on: May 10, 2010, 06:52:33 PM »
Here's a few websites on the jaguar, so that you can familiarize yourself with the feline!

The common misconception is that jaguars and leopards are one in the same- but its actually the tiger that they most identify with when it comes to behavior, and habitat.

so if you're looking to make a jaguar- here are some things you may want to know!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/jaguar.html

http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/jaguar.php

alicat

  • Guest
Re: Jaguars
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 09:17:19 PM »
from the wikipedia site:

Reproduction and life cycle

Jaguar females reach sexual maturity at about two years of age, and males at three or four. The cat is believed to mate throughout the year in the wild, although births may increase when prey is plentiful.[36] Research on captive male jaguars supports the year-round mating hypothesis, with no seasonal variation in semen traits and ejaculatory quality; low reproductive success has also been observed in captivity. Female estrous is 6–17 days out of a full 37-day cycle, and females will advertise fertility with urinary scent marks and increased vocalization. Both sexes will range more widely than usual during courtship.

Mating pairs separate after the act, and females provide all parenting. The gestation period lasts 93–105 days; females give birth to up to four cubs, and most commonly to two. The mother will not tolerate the presence of males after the birth of cubs, given a risk of infant cannibalism; this behaviour is also found in the tiger.

The young are born blind, gaining sight after two weeks. Cubs are weaned at three months but remain in the birth den for six months before leaving to accompany their mother on hunts. They will continue in their mother's company for one to two years before leaving to establish a territory for themselves. Young males are at first nomadic, jostling with their older counterparts until they succeed in claiming a territory. Typical lifespan in the wild is estimated at around 12–15 years; in captivity, the jaguar lives up to 23 years, placing it among the longest-lived cats.

Ecological role

The adult jaguar is an apex predator, meaning that it exists at the top of its food chain and is not preyed on in the wild. The jaguar has also been termed a keystone species, as it is assumed, through controlling the population levels of prey such as herbivorous and granivorous mammals, apex felids maintain the structural integrity of forest systems. However, accurately determining what effect species like the jaguar have on ecosystems is difficult, because data must be compared from regions where the species is absent as well as its current habitats, while controlling for the effects of human activity. It is accepted that mid-sized prey species undergo population increases in the absence of the keystone predators and it has been hypothesized that this has cascading negative effects. However, field work has shown this may be natural variability and that the population increases may not be sustained. Thus, the keystone predator hypothesis is not favoured by all scientists.

The jaguar also has an effect on other predators. The jaguar and the cougar, the next largest feline of the Americas, are often sympatric (related species sharing overlapping territory) and have often been studied in conjunction. Where sympatric with the jaguar, the cougar is smaller than normal and is smaller than the local jaguars. The jaguar tends to take larger prey and the cougar smaller, reducing the latter's size. This situation may be advantageous to the cougar. Its broader prey niche, including its ability to take smaller prey, may give it an advantage over the jaguar in human-altered landscapes; while both are classified as near-threatened species, the cougar has a significantly larger current distribution.