On the occasion of International Jaguar Day, Indian Forest officer Parveen Kaswan had a mind-boggling question for his followers on Twitter. Posting two pictures of animals from the majestic cat family, Kaswan asked his followers to find out which one was a jaguar and which one was a leopard.
Captioning the images, Parveen said, "Let's see how many can identify. Which one of them is Jaguar & which one is Leopard. It’s #InternationalJaguarDay."
The tweet received over 6k likes as netizens scratched their heads to guess the correct answer. One user commented, "Leopard, jaguar, panther and cheetha... let's sit together and settle this all at once... boht confusion hai re baba..(sic)"
Leopard, jaguar, panther and cheetha... let's sit together and settle this all at once... boht confusion hai re baba..— gaurav saxena (@gsaxena37) December 1, 2020
The reason why it is a tricky question is because both big cats are muscular ambush predators with spotted coats and a very similar appearance. Hence, many tend to confuse the two, or believe they are one and the same.
However, a little research will tell you that jaguars live in Central and South America, where they are the largest big cats. Meanwhile, leopards are the smallest big cats in their habitat, which is in parts of Africa and Asia. According to National Geographic, jaguars are bigger and bulkier than leopards and can weigh up to 113 kg, compared with the 79 kg of leopard.
National Geographic reports, according to Boone Smith – an independent big cat researcher based in Idaho – jaguars also have huge jaw muscles, teeth, and the strongest bite force of any big cat. The report also quotes Don Moore, director of the Portland Zoo, who says that the variance in jaw and body size is likely because jaguars and leopards live in different environments, and thus have to take down different prey.
Contrary to jaguars, who love to swim and even prey on anacondas, leopards tend to avoid water and instead opt for deer and other mammals, the report said.