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Sunday, July 1, 2012


In tropical areas, where light and humidity remain pretty constant through the seasons, birthing can take place any time through the year. Where the climate is more extreme, births tend to happen only during the Spring, even so, there are exceptions.

When the animal is in heat, its roars are heard more frequently than during the rest of the year; the female calls the male and this answers very loudly. Mating also takes place among loud and continuous roars. Apparently this takes place after the female poses prolonged resistance. Where coupling took place the vegetation appears torn and crushed down in an area of three square meters (about three square yards).

Gestation lasts between 92 and 113 days, during which the female is very voracious and hunts more frequently than usual. By the end of its pregnancy she searches for a den and usually that is where she gives birth. She can give birth to from one to five cubs, but ordinarily there are between two and three cubs. They are born blind, they weigh between 600 and 900 grams (21 to 32 oz.) and are darker than the adults. In the same litter it is possible to find melanic specimens (totally black) as well as spotted ones.

The cubs open their eyes at two weeks and remain in the den for more than two months. By the time that they are a month old their diet begins to include some meat along with mother's milk; by the age of three months they are eating meat almost exclusively.

During the nursing period the mother becomes extremely aggressive and defends her cubs ferociously. For the first few days she doesn't go very far from them and, if she fears danger, she transports them to another den by carrying them between her teeth. If somebody steals her cubs she can chase after them for hours roaring. However, in captivity she is capable of devouring her own cubs, probably due to the stress of imprisonment and to deficient diet.

The jaguar reaches $exual maturity at two years of age. Until then mother and child maintain some contact, hunting in the same territory, but they don't seem to have much social contact beyond that.

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