To be fair, a close-up view of a jaguar's gigantic claws isn't something you see every day! In fact, we're not sure we've ever had a good view of a wild cat's paws before.

Even though Tank the jaguar is not a pet Wildlife caretaker gets up close and personal with the majestic cat. Even though she's a professional, it's still impressive AF to see her confidence with the animal!

The jaguar is the only member of the Panthera, or big cat, family native to the new world. It is also the largest cat on the North American continent. This tawny cat with dark rosettes closely resembles its cousin, the leopard, which inhabits a different continent.

To further confuse, melantistic, or all dark, individuals occur in both species and in both cases are called black panthers. Jaguars can be distinguished from leopards by coat pattern, their rosettes containing small dark dots.

They also have a more muscular, compact build, a proportionally shorter tail and larger, blunt head. In habitat and behavior, the jaguar fills a niche equivalent to the old world tiger.

These powerful hunters prefer dense forested locales near water, and prey on medium-sized mammals such as peccaries and capybaras as well as birds, fish, crocodilians and even armadillos. Jaguars, unlike other big cats, kill their prey with a powerful bite through the skull.

The jaguar is a powerful climber and swimmer. Jaguar claws are sharp and retractable, used for traction, gripping prey, climbing and scent marking.

The jaguar is threatened by loss and fragmentation of habitat, illegal killing in retaliation for livestock depredation and for illegal trade in jaguar body parts. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002, as the jaguar population has probably declined by 20–25% since the mid-1990s. Deforestation is a major threat to the jaguar across its range. Habitat loss was most rapid in drier regions such as the Argentine pampas, the arid grasslands of Mexico and the southwestern United States


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