Differences between Leopard and Jaguar

Jaguars and leopards both members of the large cat species are different two each other in many ways. Read the article to know more about the two cats, their appearances, food habits, and more.
Difference between Leopard and Jaguar
Difference between Leopard and Jaguar

Word is home to vivid wildlife. The clan of undomesticated animals is essential to maintain balance in the ecosystem. The large cats often dominate the wildlife groups. In this article, we are discussing the differences between the two powerful cats Leopard and Jaguar. 

Differences between Leopard and Jaguar


The jaguar is a popular member of large cat species. The largest and third largest cat in America weighs up to 158 kilograms and grows up to 1.85 m. Jaguars have unique fur coats varying from pale yellow to tan colored fur covered by spots similar to rosettes on the sides. However, these rosettes are different from those of Leopards or Cheetahs. In some boundaries, a melanistic black coat Jaguar is also found. 


Jaguar is well known for its powerful bite which easily pierces the carapaces of turtles and tortoises. The exemplary killing method penetrates directly through the skull of mammalian prey between the ears to deliver a fatal blow to the brain.

Some of the interesting facts related to the Jaguar are:

  • The word 'jaguar' comes from the indigenous word 'yaguar', which means 'one who kills with one leap'. 
  • In comparison to Leopards, Jaguars have large, round heads and short legs with black dots in the middle of their rosettes. 
  • The large cats are great swimmers and love to live in wet environments.
  • A jaguar's call is referred to as 'saw' because it sounds like the sawing of wood.
  • Jaguars are nocturnal as well as diurnal big cats, as they hunt both during the day and at night. 
  • Jaguars have strong teeth to bite through the thick hides of crocodilians and the hard shells of turtles. 


The leopard is one of the five extant species of the family genus Panthera. Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red, the Leopards are at the edge of extinction on the global range. The big cat generally has soft and thick fur in a pale yellowish to dark golden hue with dark spots grouped in rosettes(spots are in the shape of roses). The arid region homies are carnivores and prefer medium-sized prey with a body mass ranging from 10–40 kg (22–88 lb). 


Some interesting facts about the Leopards are:

  • The spots on leopards are called “rosettes” because their shape is similar to that of a rose. There are also black leopards, too, whose spots are hard to see because of their dark colors.
  • Leopards have their territory, and they leave scratches on trees, urine scent marks, and poop to warn other leopards.
  • Every cat has a different taste bud. They eat bugs, fish, antelope, monkeys, rodents, deer, or any other available prey.
  • Leopards are skilled climbers and like to rest in the branches of trees, also these strong beasts can carry their heavy prey up into the trees so that other animals don't bother.
  • Female leopards can reproduce at any time of the year. Also, each time they give birth to two or three cubs.
  • Leopards have distinct calls for every moment. To make another leopard warn of their presence, they hoarse, raspy cough. They growl when angry and purr like a domestic cats when happy.




Scientific Name

Panthera Pardus

Panthera Onca

Conservation Status

Not Extinct

Near Threatened


Soft and thick fur with rosettes and white-tipped tail.

Pale yellow to tan or reddish-yellow, with a whitish underside covered in black rosettes with dots.

Distribution and Habitat

Dense tropical rainforests and dry deciduous forests

Deciduous forests, tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, rainforests and cloud forests


Solitary and Territorial animal

Solitary and Territorial animals


hoarse, raspy cough, growl and purr


Hunting and Diet

A carnivore that prefers medium-sized prey 

Apex predator who feeds on only flesh.

Life Cycle

12-17 years

11-22 years

As of 2020, the leopard population within forested habitats in India was estimated at 12,172 to 13,535. Whereas according to a tweet by IFS Officer Parveen Kaswan India doesn't have Jaguars, but melanistic leopards called Black Panthers. 

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