Jaguars are very adaptable animals. They are primarily forest dwellers but may be found on the South American pampas, or even in rocky semidesert areas of Mexico and the United States. In some regions they live an almost entirely arboreal existence for months at a time when the forest floor is flooded. They are also good swimmers and sometimes catch fish for food. Jaguars hunt deer, agouti, capybara, and especially peccaries. They are retiring animals, not particularly inclined to attack people, but a jaguar may launch an attack or even stalk a human being if threatened. In Mexico the jaguar is known as el tigre,
the tiger, although true tigers are found only in Asia. Jaguars are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Felidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology