Like leopards, jaguars use a stalk-and-ambush strategy when hunting, getting as close as they can to their prey – rather than chasing prey. They can hunt at all hours of both the day and night and can travel in excess of 10 kilometres a night when hunting. Jaguars are not fussy eaters, and will take any opportunity for a meal if it arises. They will eat anything including capybaras (the largest living rodent), deer, tortoise, armadillos, fish, birds, monkeys. Jaguars will also attack caiman that are in the water or sunbaking on the sandy riverbank – in fact they have been known to launch themselves off the bank and into the river to catch them. The jaguar attacks from cover and usually from a target’s blind spot with a quick pounce. Similar to a leopard after a successful hunt, the jaguar will drag the carcass to a secluded spot.
When jaguars seek a mate, males and females call loudly back and forth. When they come together, they can mate up to 100 times a day, to ensure copulation is successful. They then go their separate ways, and the males leaves the female to raise the young on their own. Pregnancy lasts for around 14 weeks and females give birth to two or three cubs (sometimes four). The cubs are tiny at birth (600-900 grams) and are about the same size as a loaf of bread. The cubs eyes remain closed for approximately two weeks. During the first 2 ½ – 3 months (until the cubs are fully weaned) the mother jaguar will not move far from the den – and will even move the cubs to a new den if she thinks they are in danger. The cubs will also begin to eat meat at this time. The cubs remain with their mother until around 2 years of age.