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Brazil Tours

Brazil is more than just Rio: discover mountainous plateaux, Amazonian scenery and apex predators

Brazil Trips

Top 5 Jaguar Facts

The Jaguar is the only big cat in the Americas: Although jaguars bear some resemblance to the leopard, owing to their distinctive spots, it’s very easy to tell them apart. As well as the jaguar having much more complex spots than the leopard, they both live in different continents. While leopards live in Africa and Asia, the jaguar can be found roaming the wetlands and rainforests of Central and Southern America, mainly inside the Amazon Basin. In over a century they have sadly lost over half of their original territory. Our wildlife tours to Brazil are centred around the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world which lies in the heart of South America.

They were believed to gods in South America: In ancient South American cultures, the Aztecs, Mayans and Olmecs once worshipped the jaguar as they thought it to be a god. To these ancient civilisations, the fact that jaguars could see in the dark led them to believe that these curious creatures could move between the stars and the earth. In pre-Columbian cultures, the jaguar was often portrayed in ancient art and archaeology. During our Brazil tours, you’ll see just how mesmerising these majestic animals are and why they would be held in such great esteem.

They hunt both land and aquatic animals: One of the best aspects of our Brazil holidays that take you in search of the jaguar is that you get to see how they survive in their natural habitats. It may come as a surprise, but unlike most other feline species, the jaguar is not averse to dipping into the water to hunt their prey. In fact, they are actually excellent swimmers. They often head into the water to hunt for turtles and fish before returning to dry land for their main course of deer, tapirs, capybaras and peccaries.

The jaguar is a near-threatened species: Unfortunately, due to illegal poaching and deforestation in South and Central America, the jaguar has been classified by International Union for the Conservation of Nature as a near-threatened species. Over the decades, their habitats have also been destroyed for agricultural uses, meaning the forests where they roam have been broken up, so they are no longer able to travel in search of mates. This can have a devastating effect on the jaguar and can result in extinction. The leaders on our Brazil holidays to the Pantanal teach you about the threats the jaguars face and how corridors are being created to reconnect isolated populations.

They are the third biggest cat in the world: After the lion and the tiger, jaguars are the third largest big cats in the world. While the males can weigh up to an astonishing 120kg, the females tend to weigh a lot lighter at just 100kg. Spanning up to almost 2 metres in length, the jaguar is unsurprisingly the biggest cat in the Americas and their tails alone can measure 80cm. If you have the good fortune to see a jaguar in the wild on our Brazil tours, you’ll appreciate just how big and powerful they are.

Considering Brazil tours but new to small group travel?  Check our trips to Brazil below.

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