That’s a melanistic jaguar, but those in the following videos have the typical orangish-yellow coat with rosettes.
The two best ways to recognize these as jaguars, not leopards, are:
- Jaguar rosettes often have a small dark spot in the center. Leopard rosettes have light fur in the middle.
- Very different builds. While the Amur leopard can be hefty, jaguars are built like feline wrestlers, with enormous and powerful jaws. (Why? Check out the third video.)
Now then here are a mom and her cubs in the Pantanal:
14-year-old Manny, in protective custody (turn up the volume):
A terror that our Pleistocene ancestors faced day and night:
The source isn’t in front of me, but I’ve read that jaguars might have evolved their brawny build and muscular jaws while hunting ice-age glyptodonts, which were big and heavily armored.
That sounds credible after watching this video.
I don’t know of any other big cat that can bite through reptilian armor and skull, immediately paralyzing its hapless prey, and then carry the whole animal off in its jaws.
Just something to think about as you watch the two relaxed adult jaguars up above. These cuties are potentially dangerous — but they’re all endangered, too.
Featured image: Bardrock via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.