Jaguar VS leopard

Who is the better Killer?

First, let’s take a look at what makes a jaguar different from a leopard

Upon first glance, the two big cats look the same, so we decided to compare these two for you.

This comparison stretches beyond their appearance, as we go more in-depth into the natural structure and behavior patterns of these impressive predators.

What’s Their Natural Habitat?

The jaguar’s natural habitat is North and South America.

In the past, jaguar populations were found in far northern regions like California, however, the numbers of jaguars in the U.S. are almost extinct.

Populations of jaguars extend south through Central America to Argentina and they are also known as “New World Cats”.

On the contrary, leopard populations are seen from China and India to the Middle East and even to Eastern Africa. Unlike its American relative, the leopard is known as the “Old World Cat”.

What about their Size?

An average male leopard weighs between 40-80kg while a jaguar male’s weight ranges from 110-120 kg.

A typical female leopard weighs between 20 to 60kgs whereas a female jaguar weighs remarkably more, with an average weight between 85-90kg.

We are talking about a big difference here and in terms of weight, the jaguar obviously wins.

What about Their Pattern?

Jaguars usually have bigger circular arrangements called “rosettes” with spots in the center.

The leopard has more plain and smaller rosettes without any point in the middle.

How long do they live?

Leopards typically live 12-15 years in the wilderness, even though there are numerous cases of females passing 17 years.

There are no clear studies on the average life expectancy of jaguars in the wild, but it is estimated to be between 13-15 years.

What about their Power?

The jaguar is a show-stealer in this case as this big feline looks strikingly powerful.

Thanks to its ability to yield up to 2000 pounds of force, the jaguar has the most powerful bite force in the feline family, even more so than tigers and lions.

If we compare the bite force of top predators, jaguars are at the 4th spot–much higher than tigers and lions that fall behind in the 9th and 10th spot respectively.

Their head

The two big cats also bear some differences when it comes to the size and shape of their head.

The jaguar has a much broader forehead and jawline than the leopard.

Their Body Structure

Jaguars have a big abdomen that resembles a barrel. They almost appear as if they are overfed or pregnant.

On the other hand, leopards have a very slender figure.

Jaguars also have a shorter yet bulkier build than their distant relatives.

Can these cats climb trees?

The majority of people assume that jaguars can’t really climb trees.

However, they are cats and thus able to do so. Usually, they only climb trees in case they are under pressure or when they are attacked by wild dogs or people.

Jaguars are not as powerful in trees as leopards and their time there is limited, but they can certainly do so if the situation calls for it.

Appearance-wise, it is interesting to examine their tail length. The leopard is very arborous and has a long tail to help it balance better as it moves.

By contrast, the jaguar has a visibly shorter tail which is a sign that tree-climbing is not a regular part of their lives. The reason why? They have no predators.

Leopards also have to jack up their kills to stop other predators from stealing their prey such as wild dogs, hyenas, and lions.

Jaguars are the top predator of America and thus there is no point in carrying their prey through trees.

They just out master anything else that walks on the ground!

Their relationship with Water

Leopards dislike water and will do whatever it takes to avoid any contact with water.

The jaguar, however, like its tiger relative, seems to be perfectly fine when spending lots of time in the water.

Pantanal jaguars, however, have no choice as they naturally reside in a wetland.

How Do They Mark Their Territories?

This is one of the lesser known facts of a jaguar’s behavior.

There is an obvious difference between the two in terms of territory marking.

Leopards are usually very defensive of their territory and will actively monitor, mark, and fight for their territory.

They will also not allow any other leopard groups to migrate into their area.

On the other hand, jaguars are less territorial and follow a more laid-back “home-range” approach.

There is big overlapping between jaguar’s territorial ranges and these are usually not actively monitored.

Recent studies from Brazil have demonstrated that male jaguars do not demonstrate any vivid aggression or defensiveness in territory against each other.

A jaguar will own the main spot in which he/she is sometimes the only cat, but this spot is small compared to the land used by that cat.

What About Their Killing Style?

Leopards conduct their kills with a chocking bite.

This bite is typically around the throats or the mouths of their prey.

When it comes to the jaguar’s killing style, the cat typically uses one of these two ways: they either kill using their canines that tear apart their prey’s head or by breaking apart the backbone and the neck of their prey with a robust bite.

Both cat species choose to hunt by closely keeping an eye on their prey and ambushing rather than long chases.

So that’s all we have for these big cat relatives. And when it comes to choosing the winner, we hinted along the way but we’ll let you be the judge! Let us know in the comments down below….

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