What Is The Difference Between A Jaguar And A Leopard? | Londolozi Blog

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About the Author

Amy Attenborough

Alumni

Amy worked at Londolozi from 2014 to 2017, guiding full time before moving into the media department, where her photographic and story-telling skills shone through. Her deep love of all things wild and her spiritual connection to Africa set her writing and guiding ...

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85 Comments

on The Difference Between Leopard and Jaguar

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David Love
Member
Guest

Brilliant. Answers many questions we’ve been pondering for years.

Alessio
Member
Guest

It’s only my impression or a mature male leopard have more impressive neck head ratio, larger neck in proportion to the head than Jaguar that nave a larger head at all.

Evette Hartig
Member
Guest

Adam, thank you so much for the insight into the differences of the Jaguar and Leopard. The physical were somewhat obvious, however, I had no idea how powerful the jaw of the Jaguar was or how much they weighed. They are both such magnificent cats.

Janice Rudenauer
Member
Guest

How educational! I did not realize that Jaguars are/were in N. America…I have come across Mountain Lions (Puma) in Marin County and Yosemite and can just imagine I would have leapt out of my skin at the sight of a Jaguar — so fierce and beautiful! Thank you.

Jennifer Sherman
Member
Guest

I, too, am surprised about some of the facts I’ve learned here. I knew about the difference between the two designs of rosettes, but I could never remember which cat had which spots! Also, the difference in tail length and the reason for it was extremely interesting.I had no idea that jaguars backed up when moving pray. Anyway, I could go on and on about all of the fantastic information.

IToday, I was watching a live web can from the Djuma water hole on the Greater Kruger National Park web site. Kruger is located in Africa. As far as I can tell, they have five web cams set up, each at a different water hole. This was the first time I watched during their day, just before dusk. The other time was at night. There were interesting looking birds, a huge Water Buffalo, with one of those little pecking birds on it (they showed a close-up), and, ta da!, two magnificent Leopards!! They hung out for quite a while. That sighting is what lead me to this site, in search of the Leopard/Jaguar difference information.

I live in the United States on the west coast. There have been black jaguar sittings in Texas. And yesterday I watched an interesting documentary about black Jaguars in a different part of the country (I forget which state. I’ll see if the Animal Planet site has the info.). If I find it, I’ll post it here. It is thought that they might be escaped “pets,” because they’ve never been seen there before. They are living in the proximity of homes and towns. They don’t bother the people, except for them having to keep a close eye on their dogs, so, there they will stay. 🙂

Jimmy Hawk
Member
Guest

I believe it was in Alabama.

Michael Klauber
Member
Guest

Thanks Adam – great to be able to see the differences in these two beautiful cats!

Arden Zalman
Member
Guest

Adam–this is fantastic. After being in Londolozi in March & then in the Pantanal in August, I was able to see the differences in the cats first-hand. After 15 jaguar sightings in 5 days (all along the river bank from a small boat) I really love the Londolozi leopards–especially the C.P.M. I will return next year but will not return to the Pantanal–for a few reasons, but not the jaguars. Thanks for the pictures. They are awesome!

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Fascinating blog and great to be able to reference the difference between these two impressive cats on one page. Thanks for putting this together Ad. rich

Monica Lorch
Member
Guest

I’ve been in both places,saw both cats and love this explanation,it was very informative!
I hope i will be back soon to both places!!
By the way,could you please send our love to Talley Smith?
Thank you and congrats for your wonderful blog 🙂

Adri Pretorius
Member
Guest

Thank you very much.

walter ferguson
Member
Guest

Brilliant write up again thanks love reading about wild cats

Christiaan Rabie
Member
Guest

Thank you Adam, great to see the 2 cats matched like this. Is it perhaps possible to order the Projecto Oncafari T-shirts?

Regards

MJ
Member
Guest

Thank you Adam! it does clear up some questions regarding the leopard & jaguar.. Both are beautiful cats.. The leopard I think is a bit more elegant…

Pauline
Member
Guest

I would be so grateful if you would tell me which kinds of trees leopards seem to favour, and also which types of trees jaguars favour.

I hope your knowledge of trees is as good as that of your leopards.

Thank for such a lovely site you have shared with us.

Kind regards

Russell
Member
Guest

Very informative. Are Black Panthers Leopards or Jaguars?

Liam
Member
Guest

Jaguars.

Donald Sullivan
Member
Guest

Either one can be called a panther if black in color, and also the North American Cougar.

Rebecca Harvey
Explorer

They can technically be either, mainly due to semantics. If a leopard is black (but upon a closeup look you can see the rosettes) then it may frequently called a black panther. However, there does not actually exist a large cat that is simply known as a panther. So this car should be technically called a black leopard. The exact same thing would be true for s jaguar, so it would be or should be called black jaguar. It’s just a double recessive color gene called mellanism. It even happens in tigers, if you were to look up “black tigers” you would see one, and also very faintly you’d see the stripes. But, taking all that into consideration, people still commonly refer to pumas/mountain lions as simply “panthers.”

Helen Vejar
Member
Guest

I agree with many of the comments made by the previous readers. I am very appreciative of the information you gave us regarding your personal observations of the Leopard and the Jaguar. They are magnificant! Actually, all of the Big Cats and all Animals in general are just stunning. I am glad and happy that you can realize all this and how fortunate it is for you and the animals. Thank you for your work.

Katherine D
Member
Guest

Great explanation, this was a great resource for my young daughter and I. She is fascinated by large cats and hope to work with them one day. Your explanations have educated so we now know the differences between the two. Maybe one day we can travel to assist with conservation. Both are beautiful animals and thank you for this great educational tool.

Jermie
Member
Guest

Awesome write up!

Mohideen irfan
Member
Guest

My god, now i am clear about these two wild cats….. Very happy and thanks..,.

Deby OFlanagan
Member
Guest

Very well written and easy to follow and understand.

The pictures in your piece helped a lot.

Thanks

Karen H
Member
Guest

Thank you for this very informative post – I have been wondering about this for a while now…
They are such beautiful and majestic creatures – to be able to see them in the wild! Thank you for your work.
All the best, Karen

sam harrison
Member
Guest

brilliant, have now been able to answer a question that my daughter asked me.

Rich Laburn
Member
Guest

Great stuff Sam, your daughter might find our Cubs Den blog interesting as it answers numerous wildlife and nature related questions which children often ask – http://www.londolozi.com/cubsden/

Sid
Member
Guest

This is a fantastic article. Thanks for sharing this and enabling enhancement of knowledge on the subject.

Rich Laburn
Member
Guest

Thanks Sid, glad you found it useful. Feel free to share it. rich

subhasis satapathy
Member
Guest

nicely described with demonstrating photographs also,,, thanks a lot.

Wes Gordon
Member
Guest

Very, very interesting! I have always wondered about the difference between the two cats. And to make the subject even more attractive to me was to recently learn from the ‘ol boob tube that they have actual documented proof of the jaguar being spotted as far north as mid Arizona!! Actually caught the animal on film! I suppose such an elusive animal is almost impossible to study or keep track of.
Thanks again for the info!!!

Rich Laburn
Member
Guest

Hi Wes, thats absolutely fascinating. It never fails to suprise me how versatile and adaptable both the leopard and jaguar are to new habitats and territories. This is true for their ability to not only survive, but thrive in these seemingly far removed areas. Thanks for your comments, im glad you found the information useful.. rich

Judson Bagwell
Member
Guest

These really are fascinating animals, and you have done a wonderful job comparing the two. I appreciate how easy this was to read and understand. It seems most articles about wildlife are either far too long and wordy, or are written in a more scholarly form which can be a little difficult to understand. You have really peaked my interest in these beautifully powerful cats.

Judson Bagwell
Member
Guest

Piqued* not peaked

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Great to hear Judson, we aim to provide entertaining yet educational content about these magnificent cats as well as other wildlife species which we have the privilege of viewing on a daily basis. Please feel free to ask any further questions and we will try our best to answer them. rich

mark
Member
Guest

Extraordinary article. I learned more in this article than in the previous 6 I read. Thank you.

Deuce
Member
Guest

Thank you for these answers. It really helped me a lot!

Protected amos
Member
Guest

Well explained.good job.thank you

TrueOrNotTrue
Member
Guest

Good stuff

Albus Dumbledor
Member
Guest

Great stuff.
Its easy to distinguish other cats but I was always confused about the two.
Its clear now.

ak
Member
Guest

Aren’t lions and tigers mammals?

Jaro
Member
Guest

Thank you Adam, great post:)

Ronnie Jones
Member
Guest

Very clear information. Thank you. I will never be unsure again about Leopard and Jaguar. I draw wild animals and now I am more confident about the size ratio and rosette design.

Ebbe Thygesen
Member
Guest

interesting to learn about the difference. I am sometimes at MAHAHUAL at the Mexican/Belize border,where the Jaguar eats a number of dogs.

Davidson
Member
Guest

Wow! I’m brazilian and I didn’t know the jaguar were the strongest of the big cats. That’s amazing! It’s a magnificent animal, indeed. Thanks for your awesome post.

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Thats a pleasure Davidson, Im glad you found it useful.

Shayna
Member
Guest

Cool
This helped me with some homework ….. Very happy….. Thanks !

Rahul
Member
Guest

Jaguars have a stronger bite force than a tiger but they can’t be as powerful as a full grown male Bengal or amur

Solomon David
Member
Guest

I was really surprised to see the hippopotamus was ranked lower than others when it can bite a person in half.

Matsobane
Member
Guest

In the most honourable and inspirational African stories their skins are expensive and are worn by kings..
In the traditional healing department some of their bones,fir,muscle and fats are needed for healing certain sicknesses and deceases..
A few left alive are very lucky…even more lucky to have you and me to safe their existence…good work.

Steven Adams
Member
Guest

This is very informative. Great stuff. It really helped me understand the difference between the two marvelous creatures. Thanks!!! 🙂

Jincy Joseph
Member
Guest

Thank you…Great Compilation with wonderfull pictures..Very well explained..Thanks once again..

Slaker
Member
Guest

Thanks Adam now I have a good clear different between the two Cats as I like jaguar cat and a car. Thanks Adam

Dani
Member
Guest

Wow! Congratulations! I loved this aproach. You just forgot to say that jaguars kill and sometimes eat pantanal’s alligators too!

Vonne
Member
Guest

I love this information and the pictures. So informative and helpful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Josh Gross
Member
Guest

Everything I read about jaguars makes me like them more. Thanks for all the work you do.

Russell Kuz
Member
Guest

Very informative thank you, you have certainly cleared up all my questions and wonderment. I absolutely love both these big cats especially the Jaguar and have for quite some time wondered what there main differences are as I didn’t want to assume they were the same cat, just on different continents.
Again thank you and keep up the good work.
Russell.

Diana Celis
Member
Guest

I learnt a lot. Thanks!

Ryan
Member
Guest

Great article! I loved it!

Heitor
Member
Guest

Are pumas/cougars “normal” jaguars with a different color, just like black panthers? Are the Brazilian Onça Parda/Suçuarana exactly the same as north American puma/cougar?

John
Member
Guest

Hi, love the article, Most sources say that the Salt Water Croc has the strongest bite, not the Nile. Some also say that the Black Piranha has an even stronger bite still, although that could depend on how it is measured.

Midge
Member
Guest

Thanks! I really loved your post. I am happily telling these 2 gorgeous species apart.

J
Member
Guest

Thank a lot for explaining this! Now I don’t have to melt my brain to tell them apart.

Simon Parker
Member
Guest

Thanks. Very nice post. Wolverine was not in the list of animals with the most powerful (pound for pound ?) bite ? Also leopards of south east Asia do like swimming (I know you’re not talking about these), but perhaps you could include qualification. But very good informative post. Thanks.

Ju
Member
Guest

No artigo você diz que jaguares chegam ao máximo aos 120 kg sendo que eu mesmo já vi vídeos com pesquisadores pesando jaguares com 140 a 150 kg.
Ai mesmo no pantanal.
E ha relatos de jaguares nessa mesma região com mais de 160 kg . Se não me engano o maior já pesado tinha seus 168 kg.

Ju
Member
Guest

Cada felino tem sua peculiaridade .
Adoro a velocidade das chitas, a coragem dos pumas , a independência dos jaguares , a agilidade dos leopardos, a força dos tigres , a organização dos leões , o arrojo de servals , caracals ,jaguarundis e jaguatiricas.

Vinod Maurya
Member
Guest

Thanks for this very informative post. Now i can easily make the diffrence between the two.

Felps
Member
Guest

Wow, this is very goood! I learned a lot, thank you very mutch.

Uday
Member
Guest

Nice post. I wish someone could do a similar post of differences between Indian leopards and African leopards. I specifically mean leopards of Kabini or Bandipur (South India) and londolozi leopards. I have to be specific here because leopards of North India (Himalayas) and North Western India (desert area) again look a little different from South Indian (Kabini, Bandipur) leopards.

One consistent difference between the 2 subspecies (Indian & African) of leopards is that African leopards have very few rosettes on their forearms, while Indian leopards usually have a lot more “fully closed circular” rosettes around the forearm-shoulder area. Second difference is Indian leopards have generally thicker-walled, larger rosettes (with fewer breaks), while African leopards have thinner walled and smaller rosettes. The thid difference is in Indian leopards, smaller rosettes on their forelimbs and shoulders collapse into blotches while in African leopards the smaller rosettes on their forelimbs and shoulders break up into spots.

Peter Gruber
Member
Guest

Really appreciate the the trouble you took to show fully the differences…although I may never see either of these in the wild…videos and photos are always out there and this gave me lots of references.

Victor Joseph Cruz
Member
Guest

Thank you! I loved reading your blog post!

Feri
Member
Guest

Woah…it’s really answer my curiousity…I think i need to read more about these cats such as panther & puma also.

Vibhav kanoujiya
Member
Guest

The information is really great.

Steve Willows
Member
Guest

Great article, but slightly skeptical of your bite-force rankings. I always read the Lion’s bite was around 600 psi, with the Jaguar and Tiger’s being about 1000 psi. I’ve also read Hyena’s to be around 900 psi, and I’m not sure about Gorillas but surely it isn’t as high as these predators?

Fabrício Barros
Member
Guest

The bite force list is innacurate. The hyenas are bone eaters, so need crush them and because this have more bite force. In the other hand, the jaguar it is not a bone eater, but a flesh eater, however your hunt technique implies a big strength bite – as written in text -, lagging just behind the hyenas. And there is no way to say that any land mamal can compete in bite force with the the marine mamals, the cetaceans. They are ridiculously large.

Muslima Khatun
Member
Guest

This article about both jaguar n leapord is amazing and very interesting to know the two big cats everything is explained nicely to detail thank u

Muslima Khatun
Member
Guest

Amazing article easy to understand thank u so much

Nov
Member
Guest

I did not really know how to tell them apart until now.

Kev allah
Member
Guest

I don’t mean to discredit your work but its totally out of context. Man cannot study the animal kingdom and learn anything worthwhile after having subjugated it. You might as well be studying human behavior in Harlem, New York and applying it to the rest of humanity.

Also, the jaguar used to go all the way up to Canada as did the Amazon before european colonization. The Sonora desert is the DIRECT RESULT of having poached the jaguars who are the protectors of the jungle. The leopard is truly the king of the jungle and that would make the jaguar the king of kings endowed with the wisdom to selectively prey rather than eat what’s easiest to hunt.

Emanuel
Member
Guest

Just an observation, you said jaguars and leopards has a certain head conformation due to his style of killing the prey, actually it is the other way arround, so the cause it’s the effect

Ammar
Member
Guest

I love leopard. Perhaps that why I felt your writing pro Jaguar hahahaha.

Carla Cleveland
Explorer

Love this article! We are from the US and have been on multiple African safaris. We are preparing for our first Brazilian safari and was wondering how the jaguar and leopard compare. This article was perfect! One question, what’s the average height of a jaguar and leopard? Thanks, Carla

James Tyrrell
Alumni

Hi Carla,

Jaguars have an average shoulder height of between 55 and 76cm (males are bigger than females), and leopards are similar, except Jaguars tend to be much stockier, and outweigh leopards significantly.

Regards,
James

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