A jaguar gazes out at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

Animal's Behavior
The jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest feline in the Americas, and the third largest in the world. It is known for its powerful bite and is considered an “apex predator” at the top of the food chain. The jaguar is prominently featured in Maya and Aztec mythology. Unlike many felines, it does not shy away from water.

Eating Habits
Jaguars will eat almost any vertebrate. Deer, dogs, snakes, fish, horses, turtles, armadillos, mice and birds are all on the menu.

Dry grassland and dense forests from the Southwestern United States south to Argentina

Conservation Efforts
The population is considered in rapid decline and hunting is prohibited throughout much, but not all, of its range. Livestock farmers will often shoot jaguars on-sight for fear of losing their cattle.

Animal Facts
The jaguar is known for its ability to bite through the thick skulls of animals such as armored reptiles.